Nearly 200 years ago, the first photograph was made taking nearly 8 hours to expose with equipment that was big and bulky. Fast forward to today when we have smartphones, digital cameras, and DSLR’s that can capture a moment in milliseconds, it’s safe to say that photography has evolved at an incredible rate. Photographers are artists with an eye for scenes that invoke feelings in the viewer. Photography is an inspiring art form that is visually stimulating because it captures the most abstract and breathtaking moments that connect people. Let’s take a brief look at some of our favourite photographers in the world (and what makes them click!) who through history delivered powerful messages through their photographs.

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is the most iconic photographers ever and was the first female photographer to work for Rolling Stone Magazine. She has shot many celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Dolly Parton, and even managed to make pictures with John Lennon on the day he died. Her incredible work can be seen in museums and art galleries like the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Centre for Photography. We can probably best describe her work as elegant with muted tones. You might remember the poster for Les Miserables, where Leibovitz captured the vibrancy of the subject’s eyes to highlight the desperation and despair of the French proletariat. Although her lighting is brilliant, she keeps it minimal by mostly using just one light with an umbrella for portraits. Leibovitz said, “I liked the way things look when they are barely lit. The darker pictures seem refined and mysterious.” For portraits, she mostly uses a Canon Mark II or III or a Hasselblad with digital blacks. She also insists on almost always using a tripod.

Ami Vitale

Ami Vitale is a wildlife photography genius. Her work has been featured in National Geographic innumerable times and it is her passion and love for animals that shines through to create compelling stories in each image. Recently, she covered the wild side of pandas in Sri Lanka, showcasing the fragile peace. Her camera of choice is always a Nikon, and she is also the company’s brand ambassador.

Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry is one of the world’s most well-known visual storytellers. The image that put him on the radar was the famous “Afghan Girl” which graced the cover of National Geographic Magazine. His photography focuses on gritty and unpleasant beauty with striking primary colors. His subjects are usually real people with tragic stories and he often ventures into to refugee camps or Ground Zero locations to capture war and conflict. McCurry has also been featured in National Geographic on multiple other instances and has won the World Press Photo Contest four times. He often shoots with a Nikon D810 with a 24 – 70mm lens, which allows him to capture low-light scenes easily. Since he takes pictures on the move, he prefers not to carry tripods or other accessories because they weigh him down when he is walking on the streets. In terms of what inspires him, he said, “As far as research goes, I don’t ever want to do too much of it because, if you go to a place with too many perceived notions, it can spoil things. It is more fun to discover things while I’m there. Sometimes, these magic moments happen, and other times I can walk around all day and not see anything”. McCurry pointed out that not everyone will agree to pose for portraits, but if you appear sincere with honorable intentions, you can convince anyone to give you a few minutes of their time. Otherwise, do not take it personally if the subject refuses to work with you. Getting close to a person creates the most intense and intimate portraits, so he aims from the chest up and focuses on the eyes and facial expressions. He prefers using wide-open apertures of around f/2.8-f/5 and keeping the background out of focus just enough to highlight the subject from all their surroundings.

Interested in learning how to tell compelling stories using your photographs? Head to the experiences page to learn more about our various workshops and capsules in photography ranging from “Imagination to Image” which helps you in making photo stories to our Fashion Photography workshop which teaches you to make compelling fashion portraits. Apart from these specialisations, we also have experiences in the basics of both mobile phone and DSLR photography.

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