Documentary

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…
Biography: Documentary photographer Walker Evans

Biography: Documentary photographer Walker Evans

Walker Evans (1903 – 1975) was an American photographer best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documenting the effects of the Great Depression. Much of Evans’s work from the FSA period uses the large-format, 8×10-inch camera. He said that his goal as a photographer was to make pictures that are “literate, authoritative, transcendent”. Many of his…
Biography: Documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White

Biography: Documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White (1904 – 1971) was an American documentary photographer. Margaret Bourke-White was one of the most famous and most successful photographers of her time. Her combination of intelligence, talent, ambition, and flexibility made her an ideal contributor to the new group journalism that developed during the thirties. Bourke-White was already noted as a photographer of industrial subjects when she…
Biography: Documentary photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Biography: Documentary photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1902 – 2002) was Mexico’s first principal artistic photographer and is the most important figure in 20th-century Latin American photography. He was born and raised in Mexico City. While he took art classes at the Academy of San Carlos, his photography is self-taught. His career spanned from the late 1920s to the 1990s with is artistic peak…
Biography: Documentary photographer Lala Deen Dayal

Biography: Documentary photographer Lala Deen Dayal

Lala Deen Dayal (1844–1905) was an Indian photographer. An engineer by education, Dayal was drawn to photography as early as 1875. Those were early days of photography, and Deen Dayal used primitive equipment and chemicals. His first patron was Maharaja Tukoji Rao II of Indore, who introduced him to Sir Henry Daly, the British Agent at Indore, which eventually led…
Biography: Architecture photographer Jan Bulhak

Biography: Architecture photographer Jan Bulhak

Jan Bułhak (1876–1950) was a pioneer of photography in Poland and present-day Belarus and Lithuania, and one of the best-known Polish photographers of the early 20th century. A theoretician and philosopher of photography, he was among the most prominent exponents of pictorialism. He is best known for his landscapes and photographs of various places, especially the city of Vilnius (then…
Biography: Documentary photographer Federico Peliti

Biography: Documentary photographer Federico Peliti

Federico Peliti (1844-1914) was an Italian photographer. He was born near Turin, in Northern Italy, and went to India in 1868 as a caterer to the Viceroy, the Earl of Mayo. After the assassination of the Viceroy, he established himself as an independent caterer and hotel director, with establishments in Calcutta and Simla. His Simla restaurant is mentioned in Rudyard…
Biography: Documentary photographer Dorothea Lange

Biography: Documentary photographer Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange’s photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression and influenced the development of documentary photography. She studied photography at Columbia University and worked at a New York portrait studio until 1918…
Biography: City Life photographer Berenice Abbott

Biography: City Life photographer Berenice Abbott

Berenice Abbott (July 17, 1898 – December 9, 1991), was an American photographer best known for her black-and-white photography of New York City architecture and urban design of the 1930s. Abbott studied for one year at Ohio State University, Columbus, before moving to New York in 1918 to study sculpture. While in New York, Abbott met Marcel Duchamp and Man…
Biography: Josef Koudelka

Biography: Josef Koudelka

Josef Koudelka (born January 10, 1938) is a Czech photographer. He was trained at the Technical University in Prague and worked as an aeronautical engineer in Prague and Bratislava from 1961-67. He had been able to obtain an old Rolleiflex and in 1961, while working as a theater photographer in Prague, he also started a detailed study of the gypsies…
Biography: Eugene Atget

Biography: Eugene Atget

Eugène Atget (February 12, 1857 – August 4, 1927) was a French pioneer of documentary photography, noted for his determination to document all of the architecture and street scenes of Paris before their disappearance to modernization. He became obsessed with making what he modestly called “documents” of the city and its environs, and compiling a visual compendium of the architecture,…
Biography: Alfred Stieglitz

Biography: Alfred Stieglitz

Alfred Stieglitz ( born January 1, 1864 in Hoboken, New Jersey – July 13, 1946) was an American photographer, art dealer, publisher, advocate for the Modernist movement in the arts. He was the son of Edward Stieglitz, a German Jew who came to the United States in 1849 and went on to make a comfortable fortune in the clothing business.…
Biography: Portrait photographer August Sander

Biography: Portrait photographer August Sander

August Sander (1876 – 1964) was a German portrait and documentary photographer. August Sander set for himself a problem that ranks among the most ambitious in the history of photography: He assigned himself the project of making a photographic portrait of the German people. He set about his task as systematically as a taxonomist, gathering, specimen by specimen, exemplary players…
Biography: photographer Eustachy Kossakowski

Biography: photographer Eustachy Kossakowski

Eustachy Kossakowski was born in 1925 into old Polish nobility. His grandfather Stanisław Kossakowski (1837-1905), was one of the founders of the Photographic Society in Warsaw and was the author of approximately sixty large albums of photographs showing life in the country manor in Lithuania at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The collection is…
Biography: City Life photographer Alice Austen

Biography: City Life photographer Alice Austen

Alice Austen (March 17, 1866 – June 9, 1952) was one of America’s earliest and most prolific female photographers. Alice became interested in photography when her uncle, Oswald Müller, brought home a camera around 1876. Alice’s uncle Peter Townsend Austen was a chemistry professor at Rutgers who taught her photographic processing. Peter and Oswald converted a closet on the second…