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Monday, 02 December 2013


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Mitch Dobrowner. Peter Turnley (obviously).

For different reasons, in progressing the art: Brooks Jensen and Lenswork

Please consider including a favorite of mine:

Ray K. Metzker

Sorry to sound like a mossback, but I really think that most of the significant photography was done in the 20th century.

Does Vivian Maier belong on a list of 21st century photographers? I don't think so.

This is a good idea and I am anxious to see the whole list. I am pretty aware of 20th century photographers, but am not aware of the best of the last decade and a half.

I would say, make sure you include "yourself" on this list. Get to know and appreciate yourself. Take the time to reflect on your strengths and improvement opportunities.

Pentti Sammallahti

I'd add Alex Soth and Gregory Crewdson.

Zack Arias
Lara Jade
Lindsay Adler
Benjamin Von Wong

This should be interesting for me. Following a recommendation from your first recommendation (Vanessa Winship) I checked out the work of George Georgiou. Lots of interesting and powerful photography from Serbia and Turkey, and also a pretty neat look at London from bus windows.


I would nominate Pentti Sammallahti and Michael Kenna. Two very different photographers, both true masters of their craft.

Michael Ackerman
Joachim Eskildsen
Jason Eskenazi
Bryan Schutmaart
Mark Steinmetz
Oleg Videnin

David Alan Harvey and Anders Petersen. Both these photographers have survived or adapted one way or another very well to the current digital scene.

Dan Winters, Wyatt McSpadden, James Evans, Maggie Steber, Elliott Erwitt, Loretta Lux, Peter Lindbergh, Steven Meisel, David La Chappelle, Salgado, Josef Koudelka.

Dunno if she is significant enough to qualify, but Taryn Simon comes to mind...

You've posed quite a challenge Mike. Photography --in all aspects-- has changed so dramatically since 2000. "Greats" aren't being made as they were in the last century.

It might be more persistently useful to also ask folks where to look for "good" photography, either online or off.

Abelardo Morell.

Edward Burtynsky

Sebastião Salgado

Got to have Saul Leiter.

Edward Burtynsky for sure.
Gregory Crewdson, though I'm not personally fond of his work.

Oh, and Sebastiao Salgado, of course.

I'd say Eddy Pula, but I'm worried that something happened to him. I've not seen any new work from him in months.

Here's a few: Eva Leitolf, David Taylor, Wayne Lawrence, Christian Patterson, Zoe Strauss, Jim Mortram, Brenda Ann Keneally, Russell Frederick, Jens Olaf Lasthein, Chris Verene, Mark Steinmetz, Jonathan Auch, Thomas Kern...

Though I'm not a big fan, Ryan McGinley would have to be included.
Certainly Zoe Strauss.
Taryn Simon of course.
Abelardo Morell.
Definitely Alec Soth.
Loretta Lux.
All are either important or influential -- or both.

There's Terry Richardson, whether you like him or not, whether you like his work or not, I think he's either influential or at least a strong indicator. He kind of embodies an aesthetic that's pretty potent right now, and gives some sort of connection to the facebook/vernacular/selfie/whatever stuff that's going on. If not Terry, someone like him.

David Plowden
David Burnett

Matt Stuart and Siegfried Hansen

Mike Meyer-Disfarmer, because just when you think you understand the history of photography...

Joel-Peter Witkin !!!

Hi Mike,

A couple for your list;

Rosie Hardy from the UK, just beginning to make it big;
I've been keeping an eye on her since she started posting on Flickr, through all her early trials and tribulations.

Julius Tjintjelaar
Dutch B&W architecture and a bit of landscape.

Alex Stoddard
Portraiture and surrealism.

All the above links have other links to their own sites, etc.

best wishes phil

Robb Kendrick?

Steve McCurry.

Ryan McGinley

John Bladen Bentley, Toronto, Canada.

Here are the current people I can think of. Not sure if it's what you want as what they offer is mostly about technique and evaluating though each one of them is also a good photographer.

Bruce Percy
David du Chemin
Thorsten Overgaard
Chase Jarvis
Steve Huff
Ken Rockwell

Two photographers from Canada: Yousuf Karsh and Freeman Patterson.

Josef Kuodelka

Matt Weber


Alec Soth
Tony Mendoza (Ernie)
Zoe Strauss http://www.zoestrauss.com/ (see "10 years")

and possibly:

Will Steacy (Photographs Not Taken) http://willsteacy.com/notebook/ (see "projects")
Rodney Smith http://www.rodneysmith.com/
Stella Johnson http://www.stellajohnson.com/
Estelle Hanania http://www.estellehanania.com/

Aaron Siskind

Joakim Eskildsen


Micheal Kenna.

I saw an exhibition of his work here in Reggio Emilia, Italy. I was astounded by his landscapes, especially the photographs of a part of the Italian Apeninnes I know extremely well. He saw things, I presume on a single visit that I should have been able to see and photograph after many visits.

David Hobby
Joe McNally

Freeman Patterson because of his continuing importance as a photographic educator.

I would nominate Eugene Richards for his body of work for the last forty years.

I would say Elliott Erwitt for his humour.

Clifford Coffin without a doubt, near the top he invented fashion photography.

Humphrey Spender, street photography before it was street photography.

I own prints of both Photographers.

Young, British, Social documentary photographer Jim Mortram http://smalltowninertia.co.uk/

Saul Leiter... who perhaps belongs in the era of his 'discovery' (post 2006/08), and in the context of the 40s/50s.

That is a difficult one. I would be glad to name 5!

Bedrich Grunzweig.

A Google image search yields a rich selection of his work.

Michael Reichmann, Ctein, Mike johnston, Jum
HUghes, Peter Turnley, O. Winston Link

So you didn't like my nomination of Alec Soth?

I think he more than pays his dues... he certainly (judging mainly from Sleeping by the Mississippi, due to be published in 2014 by Steidl) makes for a 21st century Eggleston (rather directly, it would appear), with slightly less emphasis on pure color (Eggleston is still unmatched in that arena, I'd say), but more than making up for it with his composition and depth of field selection. Similar subject matter, similarly approached, but with more technical thought on the part of Soth, compensated by less emphasis on color and printing prowess.

Kenneth Josephson
Barbara Crane
Harold Allen
Les Krims

Peter Dench
Tom Wood
Jocelyn Bain Hogg
Peter Mitchell
Rimaldas Viksraitis

Four British and one Lithuanian.

Thomas Joshua Cooper

Alec Soth, perhaps?

Gregory Clewdson as the ultimate in conceptual still photography. Check out his video and you may notice he doesn't even take the shots.

Jack Spencer http://jackspencer.com/intro/1/

Todd Hido http://www.toddhido.com/

Joel Meyerowitz http://www.joelmeyerowitz.com/

Some from the UK; Jane Bown, Fay Godwin and Chris Killip

Checking off some notable names from a nearby bookshelf:

Andreas Gefeller, Susan Derges, Raymond Meeks, Pradip Malde, Edgar Martins, Peter Bialobrzeski, Naoya Hatakeyama, Jamey Stillings, Irene Kung, Abelardo Morell, Richard Misrach...

As I am an architect who takes photos I would nominate Helene Binet. She makes the spaces she photographs tactile.


1. Rhodri Jones

2. Rinko Kawauchi

Anthony Dod Mantle -- a cinematographer properly speaking, not a still photographer, but I've always been at least equally inspired by cinematographers as by photographers. His notable work includes "Slumdog Millionaire" and from this year, "Rush."

An early adopter of digital cinematography with the Dogme 95 movies of Lars von Trier, his digital work conveys the beauty of film like no other photographer or cinematographer I know.

Daniel Shea

Raymond Meeks

Hi Mike

I'll pitch for Jason Eskenazi mainly for his Wonderland project


I think an argument could be made for people like David Hobby of Strobist fame. I wonder if it would be possible to calculate the number of photographers that his blog has influenced to try off camera lighting.

Loretta Lux

Mark Surloff

Elliot Erwitt
Ernst Haas

Sorry, didn't read your request carefully enough :)

Vincent Laforet

Todd Heisler, New York Times photographer

Such a list was to a considerable extent arbitrary in the past. But there was at least a practical restriction, in that only a relative few photographers had a body of work available for viewing in books, galleries and museums. The taste of a relative few determined what was available. The taste of an even smaller number helped determine what was ‘important’.*

There was also the limitation of actually producing decent prints. Someone with a great eye, but no or poor technical skills, was not available for selection.

In the Art World of museums, galleries and auction houses, I expect this idea to persist for some time. But they are in the business of making money, power and prestige by creating artificially high monetary values for investor/collectors. I'm not disparaging this business, only pointing out that it's nothing necessarily to do with providing examples to educate, inform, inspire, and broaden the horizons of photographers.

With digital cameras and the web, the number of photographers with work available for viewing is essentially inifnite. The idea of a reasonably small number of 'essential' photographers seems to me to have vanished. But then, I never did like the idea that a few arbiters of taste should determine what’s good and what isn’t worth the bother. In any competition between a small number of things to view selected by a few curators, critics, gallery owners, collectors, and so on, and the chaos of a free market, I’ll take the problems of an endless choice.

Now, any such list, no matter how created and presented, becomes entirely arbitrary, a list of "photographers I/we like". As such, it may be interesting, but unlikely to be any 'better' than another list from someone else with the same taste, but no overlap in specific content, or, for a different viewer, another list from someone(s) with different taste(s).

I do like the idea of a list from TOP readers, but would rather title it “Photographers We Like And Would Like To Share”.


* There are more images I would frame and hang on my wall in Alex Gotfryd’s 1988 Appointment In Venice, which I just picked up for $3, than in the work of some ‘major’ 20th. century photographers.

From the Swedish scene you might be interested in Pieter ten Hoopen or Jens Olof Lasthein.

Ooh! I don't know how I forgot him, and I assume others have already mentioned him, but Andreas Gursky strikes me as a name to be included here. You may not like him, but he has certainly been influential. His famous "99 Cent" photograph was taken in 1999, but I don't think it became super widely known until later.


W. Eugene Smith for his powerful photographic essays, particularly the one on mercury poisoning in Japan.

50 photographers:
Susan Burnstine

Alec Soth for sure. Shinya Arimoto as well.

Simon Roberts

Lucas Blalock

Scott Kelby (just kidding)

Alexander Gronsky's work always impresses me.

Well, since his story is also a 21st century one, and since he has just died, then I nominate Saul Leiter:


Edward Burtynsky - though he had exhibitions, it wasn't until 2005's Manufactured Landscapes that he achieve wide recognition

Philip Toledano

I have to admit I'm a huge fan of sleek, highly polished, reeking with high budget eyecandy. Therefore: Chase Jarvis (the guy who invented Instagram), Tim Tadder, Andreas Smetana, Dave Hill (THE postprocess man), Erwin Olaf. There.

Joey Lawrence, Chase Jarvis, Trey Radcliffe and David Duchemin are four that come to mind.

Kyle Cassidy for projects including Armed America, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, and War Paint.

Jacob Aue Sobol
but you will maybe accept Saul Leiter (RIP) and Sergio Larrain, shooting well in the prior century but surged in our collective minds in the very last period?

Peter Bialobrzeski
Saul Leiter
Simon Roberts

Paolo Pellegrin (active before 2000, but bulk of work and awards after)

Tim Hetherington

Chase Jarvis

Simon Norfolk probably qualifies.

Sandra Bartocha, Jan Tove.

Harry Gruyaert, Alex Webb, Chris Steele-Perkins

Joel Aron. http://joelaron.com/lucasfilm_portraits/

Martin Schoeller, Julie Blackmon (!!!), Anup Shah, Tyrone Lebon, Ryan McGinley, Federico Cabrera (perhaps especially for his non-fashion if you can find it), Ryan Pfluger, Priya Kambli, Ren Hang, Sarah Wilmer, Fabio Bucciarelli, Terry Richardson (whether you like him or not)... I'll post more later.

Ori Gersht.

Fred Herzog. His most notable body of work is from the 1950's and 60's, but only in the last 6 years has he become known beyond his friends.


He still photographs, but as he says 'the galleries are only interested in the old stuff'.

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