I recently took a photographic art history course that covered photography from the beginning to 1979. Here are five of my favourite 20th century portrait and fashion photographers. I love surrealism, quirky subjects, striking graphic design, and amazing technical skill. I have picked these photographers because they have created iconic images that continue to delight viewers and inspire us all!
Man Ray (1890-1976)
Man Ray was an American avant-garde photographer who worked in Paris during the 1920s and 30s. He experimented with techniques such as solarization and photograms and was influenced by, and part of, the surrealist art movement. His work in turn has influenced future generations of photographers.
Le Violin d'Ingres - Man Ray (1924)
Tears - Man Ray (1930-32)
Martin Munkácsi (1896 – 1963)
Martin Munkácsi was one of the first photographers to use movement and action in fashion photography. He photographed many different subjects including photojournalism and sports, and excelled in getting a sense of motion on his photographs. His motto was “Think While You Shoot”!
Lucile Brokaw on the Long Island Beach - Martin Mukasci (1933)
Peignoir in a soft breeze - Martin Munkácsi (1936)
Gallery of Martin Munkácsi images.
Philippe Halsman (1906 – 1979)
Philippe Halsman was a celebrity portrait and fashion photographer. He photographed Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy and many others. His also worked with Salvador Dali and produced the book “Dali’s Moustache” in 1954. His technical skill and creative work are amazing!
Philippe Halsman Photos
Vintage Philippe Halsman
Irving Penn (1917 – 2009)
Irving Penn photographed for Vogue magazine in the 1940s and continued doing fashion, portrait and still life for over six decades. His work is visually stunning with a great eye for detail and composition.
Vogue Cover - Irving Penn (1950)
Irving Penn, A Career in Photography
NY Times slide show
Richard Avedon (1923 – 2004)
Richard Avedon photographed for Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and many other magazines, and his portraits were often shot against a plain background with full attention on the subject. His ability to capture mood and emotion through expression and movement was one of his many photographic talents.
Dovima with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, France - Richard Avedon (1955)
Natassja Kinski - Richard Avedon (1988)
Richard Avedon in the Sixties
There are many more amazing fashion and portrait photographers who I have not mentioned in this post. Who are your favourites? Write a comment!