Fashion photographers you need to know
To succeed in fashion, you need to know the greats who’ve helped shaped it. Not only will the industry expect it, this knowledge will inspire your own creative process and help inform your own career path. This is not a definitive list, so we encourage you to do your own research and discover more.
Guy Bourdin was a groundbreaking photographer and painter, who's career spanned more than forty years. During this time, he worked for the world's leading fashion houses and magazines, including French Vogue, where he was granted unique editorial control. With the eye of a painter, Guy Bourdin created images that contained fascinating stories, compositions, both in black-and-white and in colour. He was one of the first photographers to create images with narratives, exploring the realms between the absurd and the sublime. Famed for his suggestive storytelling and surreal aesthetics, he radically broke conventions of commercial photography.
Best known for: "Re writing the rules" of traditional fashion photography in the 1960's, by bringing a humorous and provocative tone to his images, which were amongst the first fashion images containing narratives, dramatic effects and intense colour saturation.
See more: Guy Bourdin article
Corinne Day was a self-taught fashion photographer who introduced a new, documentary feel to traditional fashion imagery, creating work that was both candid and intimate. She previously worked for the FACE magazine and has been credited for helping launch the career of Kate Moss, after shooting the then 16 year old model in an 1990 editorial titled The 3rd Summer of Love for FACE magazine. Corinne's work is best known for it's raw honesty and often uncomfortable themes. In her words; "What I found interesting was to capture people's most intimate moments. And sometimes intimacy is sad." Corinne sadly passed away in 2010, but her work continues to be displayed in galleries around the world, including the Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery, the V&A, the Saatchi Gallery and at the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York.
Best known for: Challenging the trend within fashion photography of "glamorous supermodels" with a 90's grunge aesthetic, portraying real subjects in real, often intimate settings. Raw, non retouched imagery.
See more: Corinne Day website
Steven Meisel's photography is iconic due to his talent for scripting story lines that often reflect contemporary western fashion culture and it's underlying issues. His work leads and influences contemporary fashion. His inspirations are varied, from design, architecture, art, cinema and literature. Steven has shot many celebrities, as well as creating some of fashion's most memorable campaigns for the likes of Prada, Miu Miu, Loewe, Moschino, Coach, Valentino, Lanvin, Versace, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, and Dolce & Gabbana.
Best known for: Strong narratives and commentary on current affairs through high fashion photography.
See more: "Who is Steven Meisel?" interview
Juergen Teller is an iconic fashion photographer, with work published in the likes of W magazine and Purple. He's also shot multiple campaigns for brands including Celine, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and Vivienne Westwood. His unique aesthetic embraces the idiosyncrasies of his subjects and the candid spontaneity of the moment. Juergen's work is characterised by a casual, continuous shooting style using two film cameras at once and a bright flash. He has published thirty-nine artist books and exhibition catalogues since 1996.
Best known for: Intimate, candid and 'spontaneous' photography without retouching.
See more: Juergen Teller articles within DAZED
Yasunari Kikuma is a Japanese fashion photographer who has made his mark worldwide with his unique style of fashion photography. He has shot for Vogue, Elle, and Dazed and Confused, and worked with celebrities including Kate Moss and Jane Birkin. Yasunari's aesthetic is made up of a trademark minimalist style, which draws all focus on the subject of the picture with almost a painting like quality. His authentic approach has made him one of the most in demand Japanese photographers for both fashion publications and for brands like Adidas and Theory.
Best known for: Striped back, minimalist approach to photography with the focus being on the subject. Self described as "a fusion of Japanese and European Culture".
See more:Yasunari Kikuma website
Mert and Marcus
Mert Alaş and Marcus Piggott work together as a collaborative photography duo. Often their work and style is influenced by the photographer Guy Bourdin and they have pioneered the use of digital manipulation within their field. They are known for their portraits of sophisticated, powerful women. Mert and Marcus have shot for magazines such as Vouge USA, Vogue Italia, Vogue Paris, Interview Magazine, Love magazine, W magazine, Numéro and Arena Homme Plus. Some of their major clients are fashion labels such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Missoni, Kenzo and Miu Miu. They have also worked with celebrities including Madonna, Lady Gaga, Björk and Gigi Hadid.
Best known for: High production value, digital manipulation and saturated imagery with strong characters.
See more: Mert and Marcus portfolio
Inez and Vinoodh
Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin are a Dutch photography duo who are renowned in the industry for their hyper-sharp, offbeat, artistic images. They were also some of the earliest adopters of digital photography in fashion; their use of photo-editing techniques set the pair apart from many others and gained them great status within the industry. They have been published in magazines like The Face, Interview Magazine, Visionaire, W magazine and Vogue Italia, as well as having created campaigns for brands including Balenciaga, Yohji Yamamoto, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier and Calvin Klein, to name a few.
Best known for: Amongst the first to incorporate digital manipulation, and later to become one of the first adopters of moving image within fashion. High octane photography with digital manipulation which broke away from the prevailing taste for documentary style photography. Noteworthy editorials include their "breakthrough": For Your Pleasure in The Face Magazine.
See more: Inez and Vinoodh website
Honored by Time Magazine and The Smithsonian Institute, SHAMAYIM is a fashion and beauty photographer, as well as editor and chief of The Shacaro Luxury Book. In 2017 Shamayim was listed as TIME Magazine's "12 African American Photographers you should be following right now" and his work has been published worldwide, after working with multiple brands including Loreal, Zara, Ocean Rebel and C.E Clothier.
Best known for: His commitment to representing diversity within the industry and his contributions to African American History & Culture.
See more: SHAMAYIM website
Miles Aldridge is known for his distinctive, vivid and often erotic photography. He has often cited his own mother as a muse and inspiration for a lot of the female subjects in his photography. Aldridge places his subjects in kitchens, supermarkets and playgrounds, surrounded by the remains of a dinner party, or with children and babies whom they seem to ignore. The trademark passivity of his models, with their blank unsmiling expressions and layers of heavy make-up, has a subversive quality, as though the women are trapped in a nightmare of stereotyped femininity and Barbie doll glamour. His work has appeared in galleries and exhibitions worldwide as well as many international publications such as Vogue Italia, TIME and Numéro.
Best known for: Vivid colours and satirical, often unsettling images that combine glamour and cinematic narrative.
See more: Miles Aldridge website
Tim Walker is is a British photographer with an unmistakable aesthetic. He is best know for his strong narratives and 'story telling" imagery, which included extravagant staging and highly produced sets, which create a fantastical environment that have resulted in some of fashion’s most magical and whimsical imagery. Tim often plays with proportion, casting his models as giants in a shrunken world, or vice versa. He has contributed to multiple fashion publications including Vogue Italia, British Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Love magazine and W magazine. His work has also featured in many exhibitions, with some of his images hanging as permanent fixtures at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Best known for: Storytelling; fashion photography which encompasses a dark, fantasy like element with strong narratives, set build and characters.
See more: Tim Walker website
Nick Knight is among the world’s most influential and visionary photographers, and founder and director of the award-winning fashion website SHOWstudio.com. Within his work, he has consistently challenged conventional notions of beauty and has grown his success on groundbreaking creative collaborations with designers including Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. He has shot campaigns for brands such as Christian Dior, Lancôme, Swarovski, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent as well as award-winning editorials for W magazine, British Vogue, Paris Vogue, Dazed & Confused, Another, Another Man and i-D magazine.
Best known for: Combining latest technological advances with this photography, approaching digital and retouching as an art form and challenging conventional ideals of beauty, whilst questioning subjects such as racism, disability and ageism.
See more: Nick Knight website
More photographers to explore:
- Helmut Newton
- Irving Penn
- Annie Leibovitz
- Richard Avedon
- Harley Weir
- Man Ray
- Edward Steichen
- Peter Lindbergh
- David Sims
- Craig McDean
- Paolo Roversi
- Steven Klein