Documentary

Biography: Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner

Biography: Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner

Alexander Gardner (1821 – 1882) was a Scottish photographer who immigrated to the United States in 1856, where he began to work full-time in that profession. He is best known for his photographs of the American Civil War, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, and the execution of the conspirators to Lincoln’s assassination. In 1850, he and his brother James travelled to…
Biography: 19th Century Javanese photographer Kassian Cephas

Biography: 19th Century Javanese photographer Kassian Cephas

Kassian Cephas (1845 – 1912) was a Javanese photographer of the court of the Yogyakarta Sultanate. He was the first indigenous person from Indonesia to become a professional photographer and was trained at the request of Sultan Hamengkubuwana VI (r. 1855–1877). After becoming a court photographer in as early 1871, he began working on portrait photography for members of the…
Biography: American West photographer Edward S. Curtis

Biography: American West photographer Edward S. Curtis

Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868 – 1952) was an American photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and on Native American people. Edward was born in Wisconsin to parents Ellen and Johnson Curtis. His sister, Eva, was born in 1870 and his brother, Asahel, in 1874. Edward also had an older brother, Ray, born in 1861. After Asahel’s…
Biography: Fashion, Portrait and War photographer Cecil Beaton

Biography: Fashion, Portrait and War photographer Cecil Beaton

Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton (1904 – 1980) was an English fashion, portrait and war photographer. Beaton’s interest in photography began when, as a young boy, he admired portraits of society women and actresses circulated on picture postcards and in Sunday supplements of newspapers. When he got his first camera at age 11, his nurse taught him how to use…
Biography: Documentary photographer José Medeiros

Biography: Documentary photographer José Medeiros

José Medeiros was born in 1921 in Teresina (Nordeste). His father taught him photograph techniques when he was only 12. At the age of 18, he moved to Rio to study architecture but followed his passion and began working with reviews, taking photos of celebrities. After the war, the French photographer Jean Manzon invited him to join the new review…
Biography: pioneer Antarctic photographer Herbert G. Ponting

Biography: pioneer Antarctic photographer Herbert G. Ponting

Herbert George Ponting (1870 – 1935) was a Brisitsh photographer. He is best known as the expedition photographer and cinematographer for Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition to the Ross Sea and South Pole (1910–1913). In this role, he captured some of the most enduring images of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. After winning several photographic contests he was…
Biography: Soviet Spy and City Life photographer Edith Tudor Hart

Biography: Soviet Spy and City Life photographer Edith Tudor Hart

Edith Tudor-Hart (1908–1973) was an Austrian-British photographer, communist-sympathiser and spy for the Soviet Union. Being a Soviet agent doesn’t seem to have come naturally to the photographer Edith Tudor-Hart (née Suschitzky). For one thing she used the code name “Edith”, which was not subtle. For another, when she moved to London from her native Vienna in 1933 she liked to…
Biography: Documentary photographer Willem van de Poll

Biography: Documentary photographer Willem van de Poll

Willem van de Poll (1895 – 1970) was a Dutch photographer. During his long professional life, Willem van de Poll occupied himself with press, travel and advertisement photography. He was also head of the photography service of the Netherlands Armed Forces and a photographer of the Netherlands royal family. He worked for press agencies and many journals and magazines. He…
Biography: Documentary photographer Ernö Vadas

Biography: Documentary photographer Ernö Vadas

Ernö Vadas (Nagykanizsa, 17 December 1899 – Budapest, 30 May 1962) studied photography with Rudolf Balogh. He became one of the most successful photographers of the interbellum. His photos are characterized by the bold use of light and shadow. In 1934, readers of the magazine Die Galerie awarded Vadas first prize, and the Royal Photographic Society awarded him its Emerson…
Biography: Pioneer War photographer Roger Fenton

Biography: Pioneer War photographer Roger Fenton

Roger Fenton (1819–1869) is a towering figure in the history of photography, the most celebrated and influential photographer in England during the medium’s “golden age” of the 1850s. Before taking up the camera, he studied law in London and painting in Paris. He traveled to Russia in 1852 and photographed the landmarks of Kiev and Moscow; founded the Photographic Society…
Biography: Documentary photographer Arnold Genthe

Biography: Documentary photographer Arnold Genthe

Arnold Genthe (January 8, 1869 – August 9, 1942) was a German photographer, best known for his photos of San Francisco’s Chinatown, the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and his portraits of noted people, from politicians and socialites to literary figures and entertainment celebrities.
Biography: Documentary / People photographer John Albok

Biography: Documentary / People photographer John Albok

John Albok (1894–1982) was a Hungarian photographer who immigrated to the United States and documented street scenes in New York City during the Great Depression and later. For sixty years, using a 5 x 7 view camera and then a twin lens reflex camera, Albok took as his subject people and passersby outside his shop, and New York City life…
Biography: Documentary photographer Ed van Wijk

Biography: Documentary photographer Ed van Wijk

Ed van Wijk (1917 – 1992) was a Dutch photographer. He preferred to work in black-and-white and captured the events and people of Netherlands, especially in Hague. In the years 1954 to 1963 he published a series of books about the Hague, Scheveningen, Madurodam, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leiden and Friesland.
Biography: Circus Life photographer Harry A. Atwell

Biography: Circus Life photographer Harry A. Atwell

Harry A. Atwell (1879-1957) was an American photographer. Atwell was hired for his first circus assignment in 1910 to travel with the Ringling Bros. Circus. Over the next forty years he documented the roustabouts, big top crowds, sideshow performers and center-ring stars of the circus during a time when shops, schools, and even factories closed when the circus came to…
Biography: Documentary photographer Emil Otto Hoppé

Biography: Documentary photographer Emil Otto Hoppé

Emil Otto Hoppé (1878-1972) was one of the most important art and documentary photographers of the modern era whose artistic success rivaled those of his peers, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Edward Steichen (1879-1973) and Walker Evans (1903-1975). Hoppé was one of the most renowned portrait photographers of his day, as well as a brilliant landscape and travel photographer. His strikingly modernist…
Biography: Documentary/Architecture photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher

Biography: Documentary/Architecture photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher were German artists working as a collaborative duo. They are best known for their extensive series of photographic images, or typologies, of industrial buildings and structures. To create these works, the artists traveled to large mines and steel mills, and systematically photographed the major structures, such as the winding towers that haul coal and iron ore…
Biography: Documentary photographer Lewis Hine

Biography: Documentary photographer Lewis Hine

Lewis Hine (1874 – 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer. Hine was educated as a sociologist at the University of Chicago, during the years when John Dewey and Thorstein Veblen were on its faculty. He continued his education at New York and Columbia Universities, and taught at the School of Ethical Culture. (Among his students there was Paul Strand,…
Biography: Pictorial Rural Life photographer Peter Henry Emerson

Biography: Pictorial Rural Life photographer Peter Henry Emerson

Peter Henry Emerson (1856 – 1936) was a British photographer. He bought his first camera in 1882 and spent the next several years studying and experimenting in photography. By 1885 he was exhibiting his work and winning prizes widely. In 1889 Peter Henry Emerson published Naturalistic Photography a handbook detailing his approach and the theories he believed supported it. Although…