Originating over 4,000 years ago, portraits have played a significant role in human history especially since the broad scope of portraits includes painting, photography and sculpture. So what exactly is a portrait by definition? A portrait is an artistic representation of a person in which the face and its expression is predominant. But, it also goes beyond that. The deeper purpose of a portrait is to display the likeness, personality and even the mood of the person.
Because of the essence of portraits, portrait photographers can teach us so much even if we don’t always share their passion for portraits. To help jumpstart your interest in learning more, I’ve compiled a list of famous portrait photographers that I feel any serious, passionate and committed photographer should know. Perhaps along the way you’ll even find a few seeds of inspiration for your own work.
Here is a top-10 list of photographers that are famous for their portraits of people from around the world.
1. Steve McCurry
Steve McCurry is famous for his photo ‘Afghan girl,’ taken in a refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan. This photo was named the most recognized photo of National Geographic. His other less famous photos are really worth a look!
2. Lee Jeffries
His collection of black and white portraits of homeless people is unique and stunning. He depicts a glimpse of hope in the eyes of his subjects. Simply touching…
3. Jimmy Nelsson
Jimmy Nelsson is well-known for his portraits of tribal and indigenous people taken in more than 16 countries. His photos will live to tell the tale. Nelsson’s book is now a collector’s item.
Rehahn is specially focused on photographing Vietnam, Rajasthan and Cuba. He is famous for catching the soul of his subjects. Rehahn is undoubtedly one of the best portrait photographers in the world.
5. Eric Lafforgue
Famous for his photos taken in North Korea, Eric Lafforgue has a story for each person he has photographed. From the tribes of Namibia to the Yezedis of Kurdistan, his tales are fascinating and his photos depict some real emotions.
6. Manny Librodo
The ‘Photoshop wizard’ Manny Librodo’s photos don’t just tell a story, they are pure works of art.
7. Lisa Kristine
Lisa Kristine is a humanitarian photographer who documents indigenous cultures in more than 100 countries and portrays the human dignity in all of us. She is famous for her role in exposing modern day slavery.
8. David Lazar
These are breath-taking photos taken in Brazil, Bangladesh and Kenya. David Lazar is always in the pursuit of moments in life.
9. Joel Santos
The meaningful look of these portraits says it all. Joel Santos demonstrates the feeling of his subjects.
10. Phil Borges
His photos of Tibetan refugees are unique and the hardship is felt throughout his work.