Somewhere between creative vision and recording a split second of time, master photographers manage to capture the very essence of their subjects. This amazing ability taps into our senses and captivates us with their crafted capture, worth much more than a thousand words. Be it sex appeal, serene landscapes, or tumultuous events, the most gifted photographers show their passion when they shoot, shoot, shoot. Here are 12 top master photographers and some of their best photos.
Polar Bears & Howard Ruby
(image credits:Howard Ruby)
Howard Ruby is an outstanding photographer who has commercially pushed the envelope in all areas of photography. He manages to capture the drama of the subject matter. He believes that an image can leave a lasting impression that far outlasts watching a video or hours of reading a book. He is on a visually supported mission to bring awareness to climate change and conservation programs. These images of polar bears and icebergs are from his Global Warming gallery.
Visions of the Wild & Florian Schulz
(image credits:Visions of the Wild)
Florian Schulz is another award-winning professional nature photographer with a mission to protect large endangered ecosystems. Schulz has photographed what he considers to be vital areas of unmatched biodiversity such as Yellowstone to Yukon, Baja to Beaufort, Canada, Mexico and Africa. He captures images to inspire and help preserve our natural world.
(image credits:The Ansel Adams Gallery)
Ansel Adams was a master of fine art photography. He would pour 18 hours a day into his labor of love, his art. Neither he, nor his camera, knew the meaning of a day “off.” He loved his work though, and it shows. His photographs are legends and some of his classics include Mt. McKinley, Wonder Lake (top left), Half Dome, Merced River, Winter (top right), Rose and Driftwood (middle left), Jeffery Pine Sentinel Dome (bottom left) and Moon and Half Dome (bottom right.) He was a huge activist for the environment and the wilderness.
(image credits:Robert Mapplethorpe)
Robert Mapplethorpe was another epic fine art photographer. As often as not, however, his photos stirred controversy and would be banned from an art gallery. Mapplethorpe sometimes used a Polaroid and stated, “it was more honest.” A true artist, he snubbed his nose at social acceptance and conventional projects in favor of nudes, provocative S&M photographic documentation, or whatever caught his fancy. He caused ripples in the artistic community and was a powerful force in shaping fine art. The upper right photo is his self portrait.
James Nachtwey Fine Art of War
(Image credits: clinics rising , AGUSTÍNMEDINA)
James Nachtwey may possibly be the best war photographer to date. Each of his pictures successfully tell a poignant story worth much more than a thousand words. Nachtwey specializes in documenting war-torn countries. He once stated, “I’m working on a story that the world needs to know about. I wish for you to help me break it in a way that provides spectacular proof of the power of news photography in the digital age.” He has jeopardized his life so many times to let the world “see” what is happening that his guardian angel has surely suffered many bruises and busted bones.
Andrew Prokos Architecture and Landmarks
(image credits:Andrew Prokos)
As in all arts, fine art photography can be broken down into specific genres as well as photos that blur the lines and mix categories. Andrew Prokos is one such photographer. Although he has captured many black and white traditional fine art photos, his skillful shots include architectural, landmark, and cityscape collections such as: Grand Central Station Mercury Clock at Dusk, Rockefeller Center Atlas and St. Patrick’s Cathedral at Night, and a panorama of Midtown Manhattan at dusk as seen from Queens.
From Fairy Tales to Boudoir Photos — Annie Leibowitz
(image credits:Lost At Eminor, abc news)
A true versatile master of photography, Annie Leibovitz has been commissioned by hundreds to tell their tale through a portrait. She is famous for her creative portraits which show a close collaboration between her subjects and her ability to capture the moment. In this case, Johnny Depp and his wife will forever have this image of intimacy recorded. Leibowitz’s claim to fame comes about by her selecting subjects to photograph who “Open their hearts and souls and lives to you.” She snapped the bottom shot for Disney to celebrate their famous fairy tales. The play of light upon the glass slipper and the background setting need no written words to evoke a memory of Cinderella. She also a formidable force in fashion and fine art photography.
Valley of Regret
(image credit:Leah Johnston)
When an image so perfectly captures an emotion, this is great creative photography. In this case, Leah Johnston uses her photos as an illustration to her poetic verse. This portrait is titled Valley of Regret. She has assembled a collection of her uniquely stirring photographs and touching poems on Flickr.
Go Ahead and Burn One: Smoking Kills
(image credits: Platinum,Carioca)
Some photographers are masters at giving us images that are visually stimulating if also somewhat shocking. In the top image, Platinum Studios in Rio de Janeiro constructs a commercial image of a bowling pin burning as if it were a cigarette. On the bottom are pictures out of Carioca Studios. This amazing photo production house, based in Bucharest, Romania, is highly specialized in advertising photography. From their Faces Gallery, a woman smokes while holding a baby as the smoke curls upward to form a halo above the child’s head. On the lower right, Golden Pig and Bitches, stuns us. It is one of four from that series to be ranked in Lurzer’s Archive Special Edition.
(image credits: Carioca)
In America, the above pictures do not immediately bring Snickers to mind. But in Europe, Carioca launched a successful Snickers campaign with these photos. In Romania, Carioca means felt pen. They chose that name so people could not hold them to a specific meaning, visual style, or philosophy. Recently a Carioca member who will remain anonymous told WebUrbanist, “Carioca is a photo production house. We have production, photo, postproduction, and CGI departments. We have here 3 in-house photographers (which are also the partners in Carioca, together with a production guy). We use to sign the works as Carioca (because indeed every visual is a collective work) and we like it to be that way.”
David LaChapelle & Simon Green
(image credits:Simon Green Photography, David LaChapelle)
Commercial Advertising Photographer Simon Green paints a vivid image with his camera of this princess dressed in red but resting as if dead upon the rocks. David LaChapelle as an artist, a fashion photographer, seems to like to keep people talking even if the comments are not always complimentary. He is a dynamic force in his field, such as with the advertising photo on the left that was taken for Lavazza.
Fantasy and CGI for Platinum
(image credits: Platinum)
Platinum Studio uses all available artistic means in order to best construct commercial images. They blend their visions to create an eclectic and diverse range of photos. Today, they excel in images developed with CGI and 3D tools. There is also a touch of the fairy tale element like in the top picture, reminiscent of Rapunzel with a new rebel attitude. In the bottom photo, a hospital room is transformed with the use of Legos. And who doesn’t like Legos? They can cheer up any place or any image, definitely making it cool.