Most photographers have someone they wish they could be. If you’re a photojournalist, you kneel at the altar of icons like James Nachtwey and Pete Souza. If you’re a portrait photographer, it’s the altar of Herb Ritts and Annie Leibovitz. Landscape? None other than the master of masters, Ansel Adams.
Which got me thinking about the photographers I know who inspire me. Artists who span a wide range of photographic disciplines and styles. Photographers whose work challenges me to be better. Their images are instantly recognizable. And for some, their work behind the lens is secondary to the work they do to make other humans’ lives better.
Who are they? Let’s take a look.
The face behind English Photoworks. David’s portraits are instant classics. When I first stumbled onto his work, his soft lighting drew me in. It wasn’t until later that I realized his real genius was how his simple lighting and studio setup brought out the harmony between the sets he designs and the tones and textures he carefully constructs.
I’ve had the honor of working with a few up and coming models. It’s an area of my work where I’ve seen the most growth over the past couple of years. The generous advice, inspiration, and encouragement from Kevin made that possible. And what better photographer to learn from than one of Florida’s most in-demand, talented lensman?
Follow Kevin at @kevinkolberphoto
Let me get this out of the way first: I love Pedro’s photography. What I love more, though, is the compassion he brings to the images he creates. Whether that’s highlighting the humanity of Portland’s homeless or the beauty of women over 50, Pedro uses his talent to make the world a better place.
I’m sure there are some who look at Michael as a world class boudoir photographer. Because he is. He’s also an incredibly generous human who shares a wealth of hard-earned tips to improve any photographer’s repertoire. My posing, interaction, and lighting skills have increased dramatically since following him.
JORDAN ELIJAH VERDIN
Sometimes a photographer is more than a photographer. Jordan is a perfect example. His portraits of people in southern California in need of a second chance are dramatic and full of character. But it’s something Jordan created away from the camera that makes him special. He’s the founder of Humanity Showers, offering mobile showers, haircuts, hygiene, food, and clothes to improve the quality of life for those who need it.
Based in the port town of Puerto Escondido on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Kim’s images are the kind that, when you see them, you just assume they are from a travel magazine. It’s one thing to create an image that’s pleasing to the eye. It’s something other level to create an image that ignites your wanderlust and burns into your soul.
I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Reyanne’s work, but I’m so glad I did. I love the natural tones she coaxes out of her images. Her work with Alaina Jane, though, is where I’m truly in awe. They have an incredibly strong connection that I continue to strive for in my own collaborations.
CHRIS “CHIP” COUGHLAN
If there are performance enhancing drugs in photography, Chip’s taking them. The quality and creativity in his work has gone from really good to world class this year. I’d argue he’s earned a spot in the top echelon of still and product photography.
I don’t know if Unmesh has ever picked up a camera. But if you’re a photographer and even think about doing work with Photoshop, he’s your first stop for education. If someone told me Unmesh was the sole person who developed Photoshop, I wouldn’t argue with them. He knows it inside and out and teaches in style that is informative, well paced, and friendly.
Peter and I go way back to the days when web sites were nothing more than a few lines of HTML and a pixelated bitmapped image on a low resolution monitor. Who knew we both had larger aspirations that would someday combine our technology professions with our photographic passions? Peter’s work on the vitally important Faces of Open Source project is a constant inspiration for me. And I, too, will someday grace the pages of National Geographic like he has 😉
Architectural photography is an incredibly precise and difficult discipline. It requires incredible knowledge of lighting, post-processing, and geometry. Few combine that trio like Juan. His images grace the covers of high end real estate listings and have appeared in Architectural Digest.
A lot of local folks know Keith from his stellar drone work. But it’s his work with the big 600mm glass where he really shines. Whether capturing bald eagles along the Delaware River or the International Space Station flying over our neighborhood, Keith makes visible things the normal eye doesn’t typically get a chance to see.