The Most Renowned Contemporary Photographers

The problem with photography is that anyone with a camera thinks they can take a great picture; more often than not, any good pictures I take are overshadowed by the 5 terrible previous ones with bad lighting, red eye and more often than not, my finger over the lens.

We all have our passions, and whilst my own photography is not up to scrutiny, the contemporary photography of others inspires me. I don’t think contemporary photography is something that is very easy to label and the process of this type of photography is much more complicated than toggling a zoom and relies heavily on a few basic skills:

  • Software – Contemporary photography needs some amazing editing software to get the best out of their images. Especially if they are sticking to the genre fairly rigidly and using computer generated or manipulated images. You do not necessarily need the best or most expensive camera, but your software and ability to manipulate your images are a must
  • Utilisation – Even the most basic and inexpensive camera needs a well-practised hand. You need to utilise the camera – Knowing the exposure and shutter speeds, focal planes and composition can be hard to learn, but is extremely essential.
  • Natural Eye – You cannot teach the skill of knowing what can and cannot make a good image in the editing room. Most contemporary photographers have a keen eye and a natural and unique outlook that helps them continually produce breath taking images.

An inspirational photographer who is always at the fore front of my mind is Ronald James:

Ronald James

If you aren’t familiar with the work of this man; I suggest that you look at Ronald James Photography and his editorials; his view point is astounding and only then will you understand my complete awe of him.

Born and based in New York, he has Italian roots on his father’s side and now has an office based in Italy. Whilst being born in New York, he grew up in Milan and was, at an early age, subjected to no end of fashion and photography. He was extremely lucky: he was able to be present on many a photo-shoot set at a young age, I don’t think you can get any bigger inspiration than that. These included, Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts and Chris von Wagenheim. If that wasn’t inspiration enough, he spent time exploring his passion with Joe Eula and Ron Ferri, and quickly came to the conclusion that his passion laid in photography.

We can count ourselves lucky that this is the case, he dabbled in other professions but nothing else seemed to suit him; if this wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t be graced with his work today. He travelled throughout Asia, with the only companion he needed; his camera.

So who are his inspirations therefore making them worth mentioning as renowned contemporary photographers?

Bruce Weber

Bruce is a hugely influential photographer from America and as a fashion photographer; he has worked for some very big advertising campaigns including; Calvin Klein, Abercrombie and Fitch, Versace and Ralph Lauren where he drew on his experience of film making. He further excels at his art by working with publications such as Vogue, GQ, Elle, Vanity Fair and Rolling stone.

Bruce’s use of the straight forward black and white shot for Calvin Klein certainly drew him into the spotlight very early on. This is when he first became known to the general public, who doesn’t remember that art and those adverts?

Weber doesn’t often delve into the world of colour, preferring mainly to focus on black and white.

Herb Ritts

I don’t think you can talk contemporary art, without mentioning Herb. He began his career in the 70’s and swiftly got a reputation for being ‘Master of Art and Commercial photography’. Like Weber, he worked on a lot of the same publications; Vogue, Vanity Fair and Rolling stone amongst others, and also on the advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein and Versace. So there does seem to be some crossover there, with those companies obviously demanding the best in photography.

Herb’s focus seemed to be on strong forms and clean lines which allowed him to achieve simplicity that was delivered to the consumer easily and instantaneously with little introduction. He challenged convention, mainly the stereotypes of gender, race, social history and fantasy.

Chris von Wagenheim

Originally born Christoph, he is the son of a German aristocrat and was brought up near Breslau in Brieg. After a childhood troubled by the death of his Father in a PoW camp, he moved to New York in 1965 where he worked as a photographic assistant. He started his own studio and went on to work for the American and Italian editions of Harper’s Bizarre.

Following a very obvious pattern; he worked on campaigns for Calvin Klein, Revlon and for publications such as Esquire and Playboy.

Ronald James proves that you can turn your love and your passion into your living; or maybe his inspirational encounters with highly acclaimed photographers proved that to him which in turn made him successful. Either way, you can only become renowned and at the forefront of your game with hard work and dedication. Do you have the same drive to turn yourself into the successful version of you?

This is a guest post by Andras Deak, a part-time blogger and a full-time photographer in Budapest, Hungary. His favorite subject are nature and outdoors related, but he started his career being a plane-spotter back in 2004. Andras’ ideal is Ronald James, one of the best fashion photographers out there.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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