Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
There are things that we can learn from everybody, whether it's as they say - sitting at the feet of an elderly person - or indeed reading from a book, looking at history in photos and so on. But what, if anything, can we learn from the Famous Photographers of the past? Well, plenty.

Julie Margaret Cameron

She was a shrewd business woman, and her fame came from having the only photographs of some very famous iconic people in History. And how did she manage this? By meticulously keeping details and registering her copyright with every single Photograph she took. We can learn a lot from her actions, particularly in an age where anything can be replicated, if you have the right tools. Equally, we can also learn the value of the equipment we have around us, and how easy it is now to capture a photograph and share it with the world. Julie's time in Sri Lanka served as a testimony that without pure water and chemicals, she couldn't continue with her craft and as such her career was fairly short lived.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Cartier-Bresson, similarly to Julie Cameron, had a very short lived career with Photography. He gave up shooting long before he died and became bored with Photography. Whilst he turned his attentions to painting, another admirable craft, the underlying message is that if you do anything other than enjoy your camera and your Photography, you are likely to burn out just like Cartier-Bresson.

Ansel Adams

If you read Ansel Adams book which contains personal letters and journal entries, you will find it hard to miss the underlying message that he was trapped later on in his life, because of Photography. He felt that he no longer had the stamina to continue, nor the ambition to keep up to his level of previous work. It's important to remember to look after yourself, but also that you cannot always aspire to be the best. And that sometimes, a shot outside your window taken from the chair you are resting in, is just as important as a Yosemite landscape.

Dorothea Lange

" Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion...the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate" was what Dorothea Lange said when talking about Photography. Her work was a fine example of 'doing something to death' and ensuring that every shot was achieved to perfection and to the utmost of her capabilities before moving on to something new.

Yousef Karsh

"Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a Photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can" Karsh truly had a gift for taking portraits that communicated a person, their deepest desires and emotions included. The big lesson that can be taken from his work is that you should never look upon your model as an object. When you recognise them as a person, you are then able to attempt to capture their emotion - you allow yourself to see more than you usually would, and ultimately you Photograph them heart and soul.


Best known for his work on the streets of Paris, Brassai is a fine example of what you can achieve with a small budget and without having to go very far. Photography subjects are all around us, and Street Photography in particular is a great example of that. Moments are just waiting to happen. Brassai didn't explore the world, he didn't have an expensive camera and he didn't photography celebrities. Really then, there's no there?

Jerry Uelsman

This guy is probably one that I most aspire to with creating and capturing the surrealistic images that exist out there. He's testimony that you can make it work, and that you don't always have to follow the rules. Jerry used multiple photos to create a surrealistic image and he became famous for that along with his skills in the darkroom. He is proof that Photography, in any form, is Art. You can express yourself in a blur just as much as you can express yourself in a bold, crisp, colourful landscape.

There's something to be learned from everybody, and there are many lessons and values we can take from Famous Photographers of the past. Here are just a few... Don't forget to :+fav: the article if you enjoyed it! :)
Add a Comment:
greenbank Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013

Cartier-Bresson took up photography as a young man in his early 20s, and actively pursued it as a profession for almost four decades. When he returned to painting in the late 1960s (at an age when most people retire anyway), it was because he felt that this was the best way to further extend his personal goals as a creative artist - he didn't "burn out," and his career as a photographer was not notably "very short-lived."

Ansel Adams devoted much of his later life to teaching, and to darkroom work (making individual gallery-standard prints of  his lifetime's work), so understandably he didn't have the freedom - or the sometimes intense need for funds - which had driven some of his early expeditions. I suspect that, between the lines, he also missed his early and heroic days of lumping a heavy view camera around the mountains - which is certainly a young man's game! Nobody ever doubted, ever, that he was one of the best, even though his famous Zone System doesn't work for everyone. What can we learn from him? Probably most of all is that people can be trapped by their own fame into ridiculous expectations - Adams wanted different things as he got older, but his slavish and thoughtless audience insisted on more of the same old stuff.

To some extent I'd agree that a shrewd business approach was valuable to Julia (not Julie) Margaret Cameron, and a useful lesson to all photographers. However, I'd suggest that what makes her special for photographers is her famously obsessive approach; she had a clear vision of what she wanted, and ruthlessly broke down all the obstacles in her way so that she could achieve it. If purity of water and chemicals had been the only obstacle in Ceylon, I can't see that she would have let that stand in her way. It didn't hurt, either, that she had useful social connections in England, and worked them tirelessly in order to entrap interesting subjects!

NicPi Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013  Professional General Artist
love it. Thank you! Very motivating :love:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
aerendial Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013
" Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion...the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate" :clap:
and Yousuf not Yousef and Uelsman is Uelsmann? (we had a hard teacher of History of Photography and he was meticulous about the names, so you can see with what I'm concerned:giggle:, but name is name - it indicated history of those beautiful souls). :) Yousuf's portraits are truly not an objecting people, but catching their emotions!!:meditation: great journal!:thumbsup:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah spelling :P names are not my strong point!
KarenFiore Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Loved reading this.
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
tvlookplay Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
although im not familiar with the other photographers myself i do know Ansel Adams and i've learned alot from him. His black and white photos are amazing and the contrast he has in his work is outstanding! also he had good perpective and well shot photos... i dont know what im talking about i just know i learned a lot from him xD i didnt read his book though so i wouldnt know that part that you mention :/

anyways im rambling ^^;
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:D He's a great idol to have :nod:
Add a Comment:

:iconkaz-d: More from Kaz-D

Featured in Collections

Journals and News Articles by dekorAdum

Journals News by pica-ae

Journals and News by sTiViA

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
January 30, 2013
Submitted with Writer


33 (who?)