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50 Master Photographers
11-20: Disfarmer-Hine

By Mason Resnick

Who are the most influential photographers of the (mostly) black-and-white film photography era? Here's my very subjective list. Yes, you'll have your turn to add your faves in the comments, below.

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11: Mike Disfarmer

A main street family portrait photographer who worked in obscurity in the 1930s and 1940s in Heber Springs Arkansas, Disfarmer was discovered in the late 1970s by Modern Photography editor Julia Scully. The power of his deceptively simple portraits is profound. Backwoods Genius is now available as a Kindle download.

Recommended reading:

12: Robert Doisneau

A street photographer whose decisive moments are imbued with warmth, feeling and wit, Diosneau's work reveals the fragile moments of urban existance.

Recommended reading:

13: Harold Edgerton

A bullet through an apple. A droplet of milk that looks like a crown. A punctured balloon in mid-explosion. These are just a few of the famous images by "Doc" Edgerton, the pioneer of high-speed photography.

Recommended reading:

14: Elliott Erwitt

A perceptive street photographer with a sharp sense of humor, a sensitivity to the human condition, and an affinity for dogs. It is almost impossible to be depressed after looking at his copious work!

Recommended reading:

15: Robert Frank

Frank's The Americans is a seminal development in the history of photography. He cris-crossed the US in the mid-50's and produced a collection of subjective images that showed the dark side of the nation that was supposedly in the midst of a socio-economic boom. To quote Jack Kerouack speaking directly to Robert Frank in the intro: "You Got Eyes."

Recommended reading:

16: Lee Friedlander

It is said of Lee Friedlander: "If a sophisticated notion of what a picture can look like, the continuous construction of new avenues of feeling, and sheer, sustained inventiveness are the measures we go by, then Friedlander is one of the most important American artists of any kind since World War II." Certainly his quieter and more constructive approach to street photography makes him a photographer worth learning and understanding.

Recommended reading:

17: Walker Evans

Quintessential American photography from the first half of the 20th century. Evans influenced a generation with his forceful images of a lonely country.

Recommended reading:

18: Ralph Gibson

Gibson's high-contrast, minimalist black and white compositions have influenced a generation of photographers. By isolating the essential elements of a scene, his pictures show a style that is unique and immediately recognizable.

Recommended reading:

19: Bruce Gilden

Bruce Gilden may have pissed off more people than any other street photographer, thanks to his in-your-face, aggressive approach to the act of photography. But his aggressiveness gets results: this Magnum photographer's work breaks through personal space in a way that is both disturbing and challenging for the viewer. You can't help but feel a bit sorry for his unsuspecting subjects.

Recommended reading:

20: Lewis Hine

By championing the cause of poor immigrants, child laborers and other downtrodden folks through his powerfully straightforward photos, Lewis Hine showed us how the "Other Half" lived. His passionate photographs enlightened the world and brought about legislation that has protected millions since his work appeared in the early 20th century.

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Who did we leave out? Who are your favorite photographers?

50 Masters of Photography 1-10

The original article
My Street Photography Workshop with Garry Winogrand