The Best Top 50 Street Photographers in history: A street photography Journey

Join me in the world of street photography through the stories and images of my top 50 favourite artists in the field. From city streets to everyday moments, these photographers have left a lasting impression on street photography and its history. Continue to discover the most famous street photographers of all time.

Explore the essence of everyday life through the lens of iconic street photographers like Brandon Woelfel and Anders Petersen.

Discover the best of street photography, where the composition of everyday life unfolds as a mystery captured by famous candid photographers and modern street photography artists.

Delve into the history and artistry of street photography with renowned figures in the field, including famous New York City and urban landscape photographers.

Uncover the top urban photographers who have redefined street photography, making them not just famous but also influential in shaping this captivating genre.

Highlights about famous street photographers

  • Learn from the Masters: Gain insights from Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, and Robert Frank, pioneers in documenting the essence of street life.
  • Explore Diverse Styles: Delve into the brilliance of Bruce Gilden, William Eggleston, and Joel Meyerowitz, each contributing a unique perspective to street photography.
  • Discover Magnum Icons: Follow the journeys of Magnum photographers like Alex Webb, Josef Koudelka, and Martin Parr as they capture the essence of everyday moments around the world.
  • Honoring Photographic Legacies: From the enduring works of Mary Ellen Mark to the visionary exploration of William Klein, pay tribute to the enduring impact of legendary photographers.
  • Embrace Visual Storytelling: Explore the captivating narratives of Samuel Elkins, Dorothea Lange, and Walker Evans, each weaving stories through their lens.
  • Follow Contemporary Influencers: Seek inspiration from contemporary influencers like Brandon Woelfel, Pierre T. Lambert, and Sean Tucker as they navigate the evolving landscape of street photography.
  • Explore the Essence: Street photography captures the essence of everyday life, revealing the mystery and beauty in ordinary moments.
  • Learn from the Best: Follow Brandon Woelfel’s YouTube channel to grasp modern techniques and compositions from one of the top street photography artists.
  • Discover Iconic Names: From famous candid photographers to renowned modern street photographers like Fotograf Anders Petersen, learn from the masters.
  • Uncover Urban Landscapes: Famous urban landscape photographers depict the vibrancy and complexity of city life, providing inspiration for aspiring street photographers.
  • Dive into History: Delve into the rich street photography history, understanding the evolution of the genre and the contributions of iconic figures.
  • Follow the Top: Follow the footsteps of top street photographers and top urban photographers to gain insights and inspiration for your own street photography journey.

 

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Popular Street Photographers in the Early 20th Century

1. Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908)

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer considered to be the father of modern photojournalism. He co-founded the renowned photography agency Magnum Photos and is known for his candid street photography. Cartier-Bresson’s work captured the decisive moments of everyday life with a unique sense of composition and timing. He is the best candid photographer in history for many people.

2. Walker Evans (1903)

Walker Evans was an American photographer renowned for his documentation of the American culture during the Great Depression. His iconic photographs of ordinary people and everyday objects on the streets of America have had a profound influence on the field of documentary photography. Evans’ work is characterized by its stark realism and attention to detail.

3. Helen Levitt (1913) famous street photographer new york

Helen Levitt was an American photographer known for her candid photographs of New York City streets, particularly capturing the playful moments of children. Her work reflected the vibrant street life of the city and showcased her ability to capture fleeting moments of beauty in everyday life.

4. Saul Leiter (1923)

Saul Leiter was an American photographer and painter known for his atmospheric street photography. His unique style, characterized by his use of color and abstraction, has had a significant impact on the genre. Leiter’s photographs often feature reflections, rain-soaked streets, and glimpses of urban life through windows.

5. Diane Arbus (1923)

Diane Arbus was an American photographer known for her poignant and often controversial portraits of marginalized individuals. While her work extends beyond street photography, her ability to capture the essence of her subjects in candid moments on the streets is noteworthy. Arbus’ photographs challenge societal norms and offer an intimate glimpse into the lives of individuals from various walks of life.

6. Harry Callahan (1912)

Harry Callahan was an American photographer known for his experimentation with light and form in his street photography. His work often focused on urban landscapes and the interactions between people and their environments. Callahan’s photographs reflect a sense of abstraction and a fascination with geometry.

7. Weegee (Arthur Fellig) (1899-1968)

Weegee, whose real name was Arthur Fellig, was an American photographer and photojournalist known for his gritty and often sensationalistic images captured on the streets of New York City. He gained fame for his coverage of crime scenes and accidents, offering a raw and unfiltered view of urban life. He is one of the most famous nyc street photographers in history.

8. Brassai (1899-1984)

Brassai was a Hungarian-French photographer known for his atmospheric and poetic photographs of Parisian streets at nighttime. His work captured the essence of the city’s hidden corners and the characters that inhabited them. Brassai’s images have a haunting quality that showcases the beauty and mystery of the nocturnal urban environment.

9. Eugene Atget (1857-1927)

Eugene Atget, though not strictly a street photographer, is worth mentioning for his significant influence on the genre. He was a French photographer known for his extensive documentation of Parisian architecture and streets before they underwent modernization. Atget’s photographs offer a glimpse into a bygone era and have served as an inspiration for many street photographers.

10. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)

Dorothea Lange was an American photographer known for her powerful images documenting the struggles faced by Americans during the Great Depression. Her photographs of people on the streets, in migrant camps, and during the Dust Bowl era capture the harsh reality of the time. Lange’s work is characterized by empathy and a deep understanding of the human condition.

11. Berenice Abbott (1898-1991)

Berenice Abbott was an American photographer known for her work in New York City during the early 20th century. Her photographs showcased the rapidly changing urban landscape and captured the architectural beauty of the city. Abbott’s images reflect a keen eye for detail and a sense of documentary realism.

These street photographers from the early 20th century have left an indelible mark on the genre, shaping the way we perceive and capture everyday life on the streets. Their work continues to inspire and influence both aspiring and established photographers today.

Robert Frank The Top 50 Street Photographers in History

Street Photographers Mid to Late 20th Century

12. Robert Frank (1924)

Robert Frank is widely considered as one of the most influential street photographers of all time. His seminal work, “The Americans,” which was published in 1958, had a profound impact on the genre and helped redefine the photographic documentary tradition. Frank’s images often captured the raw and unfiltered realities of American life, providing a critical commentary on its social and political landscape. His use of unconventional framing, grainy aesthetics, and candid moments created a visual language that continues to resonate with photographers today.

13. Garry Winogrand (1928)

Garry Winogrand was a prolific street photographer known for his keen observational skills and ability to capture the fleeting moments of everyday life. Inspired by the work of Walker Evans and Robert Frank, Winogrand sought to document the energy and complexity of urban environments. His photographs often feature bold compositions, multiple subjects, and a sense of movement, showcasing his unique perspective on the human condition. Winogrand’s extensive archives, which contain thousands of undeveloped rolls of film, are a testament to his relentless pursuit of capturing life on the streets.

14. William Eggleston (1939)

William Eggleston is often credited with bringing color photography into the art world. His pioneering use of color film and his ability to elevate the banal and ordinary to a higher level of significance revolutionized the genre of street photography. Whether it’s a roadside sign, a parking lot, or a diner interior, Eggleston’s photographs compel viewers to see beauty in the mundane. His unique vision and meticulous attention to detail continue to inspire photographers today.

15. Lee Friedlander (1934)

Lee Friedlander’s street photography is characterized by his distinctive style that often includes elements of self-portraiture and the reflection of the urban environment. He has an unparalleled ability to find beauty in the chaos of city life, seamlessly blending the human figure with architecture and signage. Friedlander’s compositions are often complex and layered, reflecting the fragmented nature of modern society. His work has been widely exhibited and recognized for its innovative approach to street photography.

16. Bruce Gilden (1946)

Bruce Gilden is renowned for his candid and often confrontational street portraits. With his distinctive flash photography technique, Gilden captures deeply personal and unguarded moments of individuals he encounters on the streets. His photographs are characterized by their raw intensity and unforgiving portrayal of his subjects. Gilden’s up-close and unapologetic style challenges conventional notions of street photography, pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is voyeuristic.

17. Joel Meyerowitz (1938)

Joel Meyerowitz is known for his pioneering use of color in street photography. With a background in painting, Meyerowitz brought a unique sense of composition and color theory to his photographs. His images are filled with vibrant and harmonious colors, creating a visual feast for the viewers. Meyerowitz’s work is characterized by his ability to capture the dynamism and energy of the streets, showcasing the beauty and chaos of life in urban environments.

18. Elliott Erwitt (1928)

Elliott Erwitt is a master of capturing the humorous and absurd moments of everyday life. His iconic photographs often feature juxtapositions, witty visual puns, and ironic situations. Erwitt’s ability to distill complex narratives into a single frame is a testament to his keen eye for detail and his deep understanding of human nature. His body of work spans decades and has left an indelible mark on the genre of street photography.

19. Alex Webb (1952)

Alex Webb is known for his vibrant and complex street photographs that often depict the multicultural fabric of cities around the world. His images are characterized by their layered compositions and rich color palettes, creating a visually captivating experience for viewers. Webb’s photographs offer a glimpse into the human stories that unfold in urban environments, capturing the essence of different cultures and the interconnectedness of humanity.

20. Josef Koudelka (1938)

Joséf Koudelka, born in Czechoslovakia in 1938, is a highly influential street photographer known for his powerful black and white images. His work often focuses on documenting the human condition and capturing the spirit of the places he visits. Koudelka first gained international recognition for his stunning series “Gypsies,” which he photographed over a period of several years. His ability to capture the raw emotions and unique moments on the streets is truly remarkable.

21. Martin Parr (1952)

Martin Parr, born in England in 1952, is a contemporary street photographer known for his satirical and humorous approach to documenting everyday life. He often uses vibrant colors and captures candid moments that reveal the quirks and idiosyncrasies of human behavior. Parr’s work challenges traditional notions of beauty and offers a unique perspective on modern society. His series “The Last Resort” is one of his most iconic bodies of work, capturing British holidaymakers in a seaside resort town.

22. Mary Ellen Mark (1940)

Mary Ellen Mark, born in the United States in 1940, was a renowned documentary photographer and portraitist. While not exclusively a street photographer, her work often includes street scenes and captures intimate moments of human interaction. Mark’s photographs are characterized by their empathy and ability to tell stories through her subjects’ expressions and body language. Her series “Streetwise” is a powerful portrayal of the lives of homeless and marginalized youth in Seattle.

23. Raghubir Singh (1942)

Raghubir Singh, born in India in 1942, is known for his vibrant color street photography that depicts the everyday life and culture of his homeland. Singh’s work captures the essence of India, with its rich colors, bustling streets, and diverse landscapes. His photographs reflect a deep appreciation for the country’s traditions and the beauty found in ordinary moments. Singh’s book “A Way into India” is a testament to his talent for capturing the spirit of the Indian people.

24. Bruce Davidson (1933)

Bruce Davidson, born in the United States in 1933, is a Magnum photographer known for his powerful and intimate street photography. Davidson’s work often focuses on marginalized communities and captures their humanity with great sensitivity. His series “East 100th Street” documents life in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Harlem, New York, while his series “Subway” explores the gritty and diverse world of the New York City subway system in the 1980s. Davidson’s photographs are a testament to his ability to connect with his subjects and tell their stories.

25. William Klein (1928)

William Klein, born in the United States in 1928, is a pioneer of street photography and a master of using bold and unconventional techniques. His work is characterized by its dynamic composition, high contrast, and gritty aesthetic. Klein’s series “New York” is a groundbreaking depiction of the city’s streets, capturing its energy and chaos with innovative photographic techniques. Alongside his street photography, Klein also gained recognition for his fashion photography and filmmaking.

26. Sebastião Salgado (1944)

Sebastião Salgado, born in Brazil in 1944, is a world-renowned documentary photographer known for his powerful black and white images that capture social issues and environmental crises. While not strictly a street photographer, Salgado’s work often includes street scenes and captures the struggles and resilience of people from around the world. His series “Workers” is a testament to the strength and dignity of laborers, while his series “Genesis” explores the awe-inspiring beauty of untouched landscapes.

27. Trent Parke (1971)

Trent Parke, born in Australia in 1971, is known for his visually striking and poetic street photography. Parke’s work often incorporates long exposures, light painting, and multiple exposures to create dreamlike and dramatic images. His series “Minutes to Midnight” is a personal exploration of Australia, capturing the country’s vast landscapes and its people’s relationship to them. Parke’s photographs are a reflection of his own experiences and emotions, inviting viewers to immerse themselves in his unique vision.

28. Anders Petersen (1944)

Anders Petersen, born in Sweden in 1944, is a photographer known for his intimate and raw portrayal of people and urban environments. His work often focuses on those at the fringes of society, capturing their struggles and vulnerability. Petersen’s series “Café Lehmitz” is a powerful documentation of the patrons of a bar in Hamburg, Germany, while his series “Soho” captures the vibrant and gritty atmosphere of the London neighborhood. Petersen’s photographs have a raw energy that invites viewers to connect with his subjects on a deep level.

29. Tony Ray-Jones (1941-1972)

Tony Ray-Jones, born in England in 1941 and passed away in 1972, is considered one of the pioneers of British documentary photography. While his career was brief, Ray-Jones left a lasting impression with his unique approach to capturing everyday life in England. His photographs are characterized by their humor, irony, and sense of observation. Ray-Jones’ work influenced a generation of street photographers and his book “A Day Off” remains a timeless portrayal of British culture.

30. Philip-Lorca diCorcia (1951)

Philip-Lorca diCorcia, born in the United States in 1951, is known for his staged and meticulously composed street photography. DiCorcia often works with lighting equipment and constructs scenes to create a cinematic quality in his images. His series “Hustlers” is a thought-provoking examination of male sex workers in Los Angeles, challenging notions of reality and documentary photography. DiCorcia’s photographs blur the boundaries between reality and artifice, inviting the viewer to question the nature of representation.

31. Mark Cohen (1943)

Mark Cohen, born in the United States in 1943, is known for his close-up and intrusive style of street photography. Cohen’s work captures fleeting moments of human interaction and focuses on the details of everyday life. His photographs often isolate subjects, creating a sense of tension and intrigue. Cohen’s series “Grim Street” is a gritty portrayal of the streets of his hometown, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His unique perspective and attention to detail make his photographs distinctive and memorable.

32. Philip Jones Griffiths (1936-2008)

Philip Jones Griffiths, born in Wales in 1936 and passed away in 2008, was a photojournalist known for his powerful and compassionate documentation of the Vietnam War. While primarily a war photographer, Griffiths’ work also includes street scenes and captures the impact of conflict on civilian life. His book “Vietnam Inc.” is a groundbreaking visual exploration of the war and its consequences, offering a unique perspective on the conflict. Griffiths’ photographs are a testament to his commitment to capturing the truth and bringing awareness to important social issues.

33. Martha Cooper (1942)

Martha Cooper, born in the United States in 1942, is a photographer known for her documentation of urban culture, specifically graffiti and street art. Cooper’s work captures the vibrant energy of street art and its impact on the cityscape. Her book “Subway Art,” co-authored with Henry Chalfant, is a seminal work that showcases the graffiti movement in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s. Cooper’s photographs have become iconic and continue to inspire street artists and photographers around the world.

34. Ernst Haas (1921-1986)

Ernst Haas, born in Austria in 1921 and passed away in 1986, was a pioneering color photographer known for his innovative use of color and light. While not exclusively a street photographer, Haas’ work often includes street scenes and captures the beauty and vibrancy of everyday life. His photographs have a dreamlike quality, with vibrant colors and poetic compositions. Haas’ book “The Creation” is a visual exploration of the natural world, capturing the wonder and beauty of landscapes, plants, and animals.

35. Roy DeCarava (1919-2009)

Roy DeCarava, born in the United States in 1919 and passed away in 2009, was a photographer known for his poetic and intimate black and white images. DeCarava’s work often focuses on the African American experience and captures the beauty and resilience of his subjects. His photographs have a lyrical quality, with a deep understanding of light, shadow, and form. DeCarava’s book “The Sweet Flypaper of Life,” a collaboration with Langston Hughes, combines photographs and poetic text to create a powerful narrative of Harlem in the 1950s.

36. Ferdinando Scianna (1943)

Ferdinando Scianna, born in Italy in 1943, is a photographer known for his poetic and evocative street photography. Scianna’s work captures the essence of the human condition with a sense of mystery and beauty. His photographs often explore themes of love, longing, and the passing of time. Scianna’s series “Bamboo” is a sensual exploration of the female body, while his series “Journey to Italy” captures the timeless allure of his home country. Scianna’s photographs are a testament to his keen observation and ability to evoke emotion through visual storytelling.

37. Hiroshi Sugimoto (1948)

Hiroshi Sugimoto, born in Japan in 1948, is known for his long-exposure photographs that capture scenes of stillness and timelessness. While not exclusively a street photographer, Sugimoto’s work often includes architectural and landscape elements in urban environments. His series “Seascapes” is a meditative exploration of the ocean and its infinite variations, while his series “Theaters” captures the ghostly presence of movie theaters. Sugimoto’s photographs have a serene and contemplative quality, inviting viewers to pause and reflect on the world around them.

38. Jamel Shabazz (1960)

Jamel Shabazz possesses an extraordinary talent for capturing the essence of urban life, particularly within the vibrant communities of New York City. His photographs resonate with authenticity, depicting the raw energy and cultural richness of the streets. Shabazz’s work often showcases the beauty found in everyday moments, celebrating the resilience and spirit of marginalized communities. Through his lens, he offers a compelling narrative of hope, struggle, and triumph, making him a vital voice in contemporary documentary photography.

39. Constantine Manos (1934)

Constantine Manos is a visionary photographer renowned for his evocative depictions of everyday life, primarily in Greece and the United States. His photographs exude a timeless quality, capturing the nuances of human interaction and the subtle beauty of mundane scenes. Manos’s keen sense of composition and use of light imbue his images with a sense of poetry, inviting viewers to contemplate the fleeting moments that define our existence. His body of work serves as a poignant reflection on the human condition, transcending cultural boundaries to resonate with audiences worldwide.

40. Thomas Hoepker (1936)

Thomas Hoepker’s photographic vision is marked by a profound curiosity about the world and a deep appreciation for the complexities of human experience. His images, spanning continents and cultures, offer a nuanced exploration of contemporary life. Hoepker’s compositions are often characterized by their dynamic energy and emotional depth, revealing the rich tapestry of human existence. Whether capturing moments of joy, sorrow, or contemplation, his photographs invite viewers to engage with the diverse and ever-changing landscape of our global society.

41. Stephen Shore (1947)

Stephen Shore is celebrated for his pioneering approach to color photography and his ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. His photographs, often depicting American landscapes and everyday scenes, are imbued with a sense of quiet contemplation and understated beauty. Shore’s meticulous attention to detail and masterful use of color result in images that are both visually striking and emotionally resonant. Through his work, he invites viewers to rediscover the beauty and complexity of the world that surrounds them, encouraging a deeper appreciation for the moments that shape our lives.

Famous Contemporary Street Photographers in Social Media

42. Brandon Woelfel (1994)

Brandon Woelfel is an American street photographer known for his distinctive style characterized by vibrant colors and the creative use of fairy lights. His photographs often feature dreamy and ethereal qualities, creating a sense of wonder and fantasy in everyday scenes. Woelfel has a large following on social media platforms such as Instagram, where he shares his captivating street photography with his audience.

43. Samuel Elkins (1995)

Samuel Elkins is a young street photographer who has gained recognition for his unique and artistic approach to capturing the beauty of everyday life. His photographs often feature minimalist compositions, with a focus on light and shadow. Elkins’ work showcases his ability to find beauty in simplicity and highlights his talent for storytelling through his images.

44. Sean Tucker (1983)

Sean Tucker is a British photographer who specializes in street and documentary photography. His work explores various themes such as identity, culture, and human connection. Tucker combines his technical skills with a deep understanding of the human condition, resulting in thought-provoking and impactful images. He shares his knowledge and insights on his YouTube channel, where he provides valuable photography tips and tutorials.

45. Eric Kim (1988)

Eric Kim is a renowned street photographer and educator who has made significant contributions to the genre. He is known for his practical approach to street photography, emphasizing the importance of capturing authentic moments and developing a personal style. Kim shares his expertise through workshops, online courses, and his blog, where he offers valuable insights and advice to aspiring photographers.

46. Pierre T. Lambert (1992)

Pierre T. Lambert is a French street photographer and YouTuber who has gained a following through his educational content and engaging photography vlogs. He is known for his passion for street photography and his ability to share his knowledge in an accessible and entertaining manner. Lambert’s videos provide valuable tips, gear reviews, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into his creative process.

47. Valerie Jardin

Valerie Jardin is a French-American street photographer who has traveled the world capturing unique and candid moments on the streets. She is known for her black and white images that showcase the beauty and diversity of human life. Jardin is also an author, podcaster, and workshop leader, sharing her passion for street photography with others and inspiring them to see the world through a different lens.

48. Evan Ranft

Evan Ranft is an American street photographer and content creator known for his minimalist and clean aesthetic. His photographs often feature strong geometric lines, patterns, and bold compositions. Ranft shares his knowledge and photography tips through his YouTube channel, where he provides insights into his creative process and offers practical advice for aspiring street photographers.

49. Joshua K. Jackson

Joshua K. Jackson is a British street photographer known for his dramatic and high-color saturation images. His photographs often capture the energy and vibrancy of urban life, showcasing the diverse moments and characters encountered on the streets. Jackson’s work has gained recognition both on social media platforms and through exhibitions, solidifying his place among the top contemporary street photographers.

50. Alan Schaller

Alan Schaller is a British street photographer recognized for his striking black and white images that capture the emotions and relationships between people in urban environments. His photographs often feature strong contrasts and use light and shadow to create a sense of drama. Schaller’s work has been exhibited globally and has gained acclaim for its artistic and storytelling qualities.

These contemporary street photographers have utilized social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube to share their work, connect with their audience, and inspire others to explore the genre of street photography. Each photographer brings a unique perspective and style to the field, showcasing the diversity and creativity within the genre. Aspiring photographers can learn from their techniques, storytelling abilities, and dedication to capturing the essence of everyday life on the streets.

Wrap Up about greatest street photographers

These 50 photographers have left a mark on street photography, capturing the essence of everyday life with their distinct perspectives. Their work remains a source of inspiration, ensuring that the art form continues to thrive and evolve.

In conclusion, the charm of street photography lies in its ability to capture the essence of everyday life, transforming ordinary moments into extraordinary works of art. From the candid snapshots captured by renowned artists like Brandon Woelfel to the masterful compositions of urban landscapes by photographers such as Anders Petersen, the genre continues to evolve. Through platforms like YouTube, Brandon Woelfel shares insights into his creative process, enriching the community of street photography enthusiasts.

The history of street photography is marked by the contributions of iconic figures and modern trailblazers who have left an indelible mark on the genre. From the historic streets of New York City, immortalized by famous photographers, to the bustling cityscapes captured by contemporary talents, the best urban photographers continually push the boundaries of creativity.

These great street photographers, both famous and emerging, weave narratives that celebrate the diversity and complexity of urban life. Their work serves as a testament to the ever-changing landscape of society, reflecting the beauty found in the mundane and the profound. As we delve into the rich tapestry of street photography, we uncover a world where every corner holds a story, and every image is a window into the soul of the city.

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I hope you find useful my article about the best street photographers of all time, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me. Best of luck! and follow your passion.

Juan Solis

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Article: The Top 50 Street Photography photographers

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