In any list of the best street photographers you can find well-known city photographers such as Zack Arias, Boogie, and Eric Kim. But believe me, there are other outstanding street photographers of all time that will make you inspired.
30 Best Street Photographers
I have gathered interesting facts about thirty best street photographers, who can be a great example to follow. These incredibly talented representatives of street art will inspire you to perfect your skills and develop creativity.
Location: Serbia + USA
Boogie is a famous street photographer, who visited many streets in the world. Glory came to him thanks to his pictures of New York’s streets. As a rule, he captures those unpleasant aspects of life that we prefer not to notice. You can see criminals, street children, homeless, and drug addicts in his pictures. He photographs the unflattering sides of human life in black and white.
Cheryl Dunn tells about Boogie in a part of her documentary Everybody Street (2013). This film is dedicated to city photographers, who have chosen the streets of New York as the main subject of their works.
Boogie is the author of 6 photography books. The first ones were published in black and white and only the sixth is in color.
Paola Franqui or Monaris is a famous street photographer from New York. Her distinguishing feature is showing the scenes filled with color, emotions, and expression. She started taking pictures long before moving to the United States.
Her first photos were taken using an iPhone. She bought her first camera only three years later. Watching videos on YouTube, Paola improved her knowledge and skills.
She took her first photos in 16:9 format. This is quite cinematic but does not match the portrait mode and square shapes of Instagram. Many well-known companies are among her clients including MetroPCS, Sony, Rayban, ESPN and many more.
3. Thomas Leuthard Website
Thomas started photography in 2008 and after a year, he decided to focus on street shooting. Traveling to big cities around the globe, he captures life in the streets. Thomas is not only one of the top street photographers, but a very kind and generous person ready to help those only starting their photography career.
You can download his pictures absolutely free. Moreover, his eBooks are also available without payment. To promote street photography style, he describes his work in detail. He also had a YouTube channel where he shares his experience and passion for street photography.
In June 2017, Thomas decided to do something else and switch to a different occupation. Therefore, he gave up photographing.
John is one of the most experienced and famous American street photographers. His works appeared on the pages of Photographic Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, etc. He willingly shares his knowledge with others. You can find a lot of useful information on his Youtube channel
In his videos, John describes his philosophical approach to city photography. He explains how to take photos and what for. John regularly holds workshops and classes not only in his hometown but also in many countries across the globe.
5. Bill Cunningham Website
Bill is a well-known fashion street photographer, who penetrated into the world of fashion as a stockboy in Bonwit Teller’s Boston Store. He also cooperated with such famous salons as Dior, Chanel and Givenchy. His interest in fashion photography appeared when he worked at the Chicago Tribune and Women’s Wear Daily.
At that time, Bill mainly focused on the fashion of NY streets. In 1978 he started his series of images under the title “On the Street”. Five years later he was awarded the title of the outstanding photographers of the year by the Council of Fashion Designers.
Another important date in this career was 2008 when he was called the Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.
Martha Cooper is one of the best street photographers of all time. She became popular thanks to her pictures of New York graffiti in 1970. In 1984, Subway Art published her impressive pictures of subway graffiti pieces.
Pictures taken by this legend of documentary and street photography regularly appeared on the pages of the world-famous magazine such as National Geographic, Art News, Audubon, and Natural History.
In 1984, a joint project of Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, the Subway Art book, saw the world. This is one of the first books about the subculture of graffiti, its history, with descriptions of terms, slang, etc. Marta is almost 70 but she participates in exhibitions and actively shoots graffiti artists.
Craig is one of the best street photographers in Instagram and he is known for social media tag "Six Street Under." He likes to shoot everyday life in the streets of Cambridge. Using his Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera, Craig is trying to catch the most unusual moments of everyday routine.
To experiment with composition and focus points, this street photography master uses the long XF 56mm F/1.2 R lens. In his free time, Craig shares his knowledge at workshops in London. In addition, he plans to make photography his main business.
Arnold is engaged in fashion, street, and Instagram photography. The New York Times and Vogue regularly publish his photographs. Arnold shared his first work on Instagram. In 2012, his Instagram account had 1,500 subscribers. He became famous thanks to an article published in 2012. The author called Arnold "the best street photographer on Instagram," and talked about his being banned from the image sharing service. Arnold created a new social network account and already had 235 thousand followers in 2019.
He became one of the most successful street photography masters and received several awards from well-known publications such as Vogue Magazine and MTV. In 2018, Arnold photographed the 2018 Women's March for Vogue.
Angelo planned to become an engineer but changed his mind and opted for photography. We all should be glad about this because he is one of the most famous street photographers. His talent as a photojournalist is incredible.
Angelo is a member of the Italian Association of street photographers. He represented Fujifilm as its ambassador from 2014 to 2017. In March 2017, Angelo began working as an Ambassador for Hasselblad.
He shot the streets of many famous capitals and cities of the world including Berlin, Florence, Tokyo, and London. He creates great stories in his pictures and is one of my favorite modern city photographers.
This Greek photographer lives in Crete. His images stand out for their stunning and unique look that impresses people from all over the world. Capturing everyday life, Dirty Harrrry creates photographs that are perceived as something ethereal, like a dream.
For shooting, he prefers to use Canon 5d Mark II and Canon 60d. Besides, his gear kit includes a plastic pinhole 35mm lenses and a fisheye lens. This great street photographer works with a focal length of no more than 35mm. Rethymno (photographer's hometown) and surrounding areas are the main subjects of his images.
Currently, Linda is one of the most famous and successful street shooters in the UK. She has been given several prestigious awards in recent years. In 2016, she won the Best Street Life nomination at one of the most prestigious British Awards. Linda also participated in many famous exhibitions and festivals. The Royal Albert Hall kept showing her image for 2 months. The same photo was published in BLPA winners' book (on the cover) in 2018.
As one of the best London street photographers, Linda’s worksare published in various professional magazines. Moreover, she is a member of a joint project with Airbnb, being a host and tutor.
Zack Arias is one of the most famous photographers involved in editorial musical photography. He travels a lot both in the USA and around the globe. Zack visited five continents and 49 states.
Collaborating with Fujifilm, he popularizes photography and inspires people to start taking street pictures. He took pictures for world-famous labels and companies.
His customer list is simply impressive. The Coca-Cola Company, Bloomberg, and HGTV are a small part.
He gained worldwide fame thanks to his series of street shots called 365 Parisians. He spent a whole year wandering the streets of the French capital and photographing people’s faces. He is one of the best street photographers, who created a whole photo story about the daily life of people, who shape the image of Paris.
He took pictures of representatives of various professions and layers of the population. You can see the faces of tired and busy cooks and fashionably dressed women. His portraits, on the one hand, demonstrate the familiar image of a resident of a cosmopolitan city.
On the other hand, they show their unusual and unexpected sides. Photos taken by this famous street photographer have appeared in many well-known publications including L’Express and Le Parisien. In addition, he photographed many celebrities like Baxter Dury, Jean-Michel Jarre, Ludivine Sagnier, etc.
Photo by Constantin Mashinskiy
Location: New Zealand + USA
Anna concentrates on the life of New York and its subcultures. Her images impress the audience, showing human life resilience and despair. Her style somehow resembles Boogie's works. However, Anna gives the images special sensibility.
She uses black and white film to capture the life of city streets. Anna is one of the most famous street photographers. Her works were exhibited at the Klughaus gallery. At the moment, Anna works both in New Zealand and the USA.
Eric Kim is on the list of famous candid photographers thanks to his special style and amazing blog. He takes part in training seminars in different countries and shares his experience with others.
Eric has worked with many well-known brands like Magnum, and Leica. Leica stores contain photographs taken by Eric in Melbourne, Seoul, and Singapore.
He was a judge at the Street Photography Festival in London last year. Currently, Eric is teaching a street photography course.
Tommy Ton comes from Canada and is famous for his fashion blog Jak&Jil
and his street style approach to shooting fashion weeks on Style and GQ. He became famous when the department store chain called Lane Crawford from Hong Kong hired him to photograph the store’s Spring/Summer 2009 campaign. In the Autumn/Winter season of the same year, Tommy Ton got the chance to sit front-row at Dolce & Gabbana fashion show, together with other famous fashion bloggers.
After that, many publications, including The New York Times and The Boston Globe got interested in his works and wanted to print them on the pages of their magazines. In 2017, Ton got the position of a creative director of the New York-based label, Deveaux.
17. Josef Koudelka Website
Location: Czech + France
His first photographs were taken with a 6×6 Bakelite camera. He began taking pictures of his family and in 1967 gave up his career as an engineer and took up photography.
He witnessed the invasion of the Soviet Union and the defeat of the Prague Spring. Josef immortalized all these events with his camera. Photos were illegally exported from the Czech Republic.
Magnum published them, indicating the author as P.P. which meant Prague photographer. These pictures taken by one of the best street photographers of all time became known around the world. Josef was awarded the Robert Capa Gold Medal for pictures taken in difficult conditions and requiring special courage.
His further projects were Gypsies (1975) and Exile (1988). Now Josef uses a full-frame camera for shooting. You can see the results of his work in the publication Chaos, which appeared in 1999.
18. Jill Freedman Website
Jill is one of the top street photographers and a sociologist by education. She moved to New York three years after graduating from university and began working as a copywriter. At the same time, she started to learn photography. She drew knowledge from the works of W. Eugene Smith and André Kertész.
She moved to Washington D.C after the death of MLK. Living in the poorest areas, Jill photographed life there. Jill collaborated with Magnum but she was not a member of that group. Commissioned pieces are often accompanied by gossips, which Jill did not like. She preferred Studio 54, 42nd Street, and Soho.
19. Lee Friedlander Website
With his Leica 35mm, Lee captured many aspects of city life in the 60s-70s. One of his favorite tricks was to use store windows and other reflective surfaces, as well as urban structures, as a canvas or a frame for the subject he was shooting. Lee participated in the John Szarkowski’s “New Documents” exhibition
of 1967, together with some more other famous street photographers of that period.
It was also the time when Lee was hired by Esquire and Sports Illustrated but he still continued to document the chaotic life of the NY streets. His works were named the ‘snapshot aesthetic’.
20. W. Eugene Smith Website
The 35mm Contax and a local newspaper were the start of this street artist‘s career. Smith advanced in 1938, when he moved to NY and got hired by the Newsweek. They tried to push him towards the large format which he never gave into.
A decade later, Smith created a photo story for the Life magazine called Country Doctor that brought him fame. The Jazz Loft Project was born later when he joined the Magnum
. In the 70’s, Smith was documenting in Minamata, uncovering the harm that industrial sewage was causing to the health of the locals. Shooting in the blamed factory, he was attacked by the employees who didn’t want him to photograph. As a result, Smith went partially blind and was never able to go back to work.
21. Henri Cartier-Bresson Website
This photographer should be heading the list of the most famous street photographers as he pioneered this genre and imprinted the most powerful moments. While his colleagues were working with a larger format, he was among the few that used a 35mm one. Many people recognized Henri as a master of real-life photography and that was reinforced by the fame of his book. In it, he tried to put in words the impulse that makes him take a shot, which lies in the brief flawless resonance of the visual and perceived elements of reality.
Henri was established as one of the best street photographers of all time after the work he did on covering Gandhi's funeral and then the end of the Chinese Civil War, together with a few other powerful events.
Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson
22. Saul Leiter Website
Saul isn’t only one of the best street photographers in the US but a painter as well, which really allow shaving a deeper understanding of his personal style. His mid-century works were such an important contribution that they influenced the start of the New York School of Photography
With the strong encouragement of another striking artist from this list – W. Eugene Smith, he took the first steps in monochrome photography. Still, Henri was among the first to transfer to the color film, which allowed him to pioneer this direction. Most of his works revolve around the East Village.
23. Robert Doisneau Website
Starting as a street photographer in the 30s, Robert roamed the capital searching for interesting and often funny stories, becoming one of the pioneers of photojournalism. He was hired in the middle of the decade by the Renault factory to work as an advertising photographer.
This position increased Robert’s interest in people and photography but the employment didn’t last too long. After five years he was sacked with systematic late arrivals as the main reason. Various attempts to earn his living followed with one-time advertising projects and taking pictures for postcards and engravings.
His iconic images had a modest and playful air, displaying funny inter comparisons, mingling social classes and Parisian queer personalities. In the upcoming decades, Roberts was one of the best street photographers who won many big prizes.
24. André Kertész Website
One of the great street photographers to push the avant-garde style which was evolving around that time. Already from André’s early works, the artistic genius was showing in un common angles, making the shots more powerful.
Work assignments brought him first to France and then later to the USA. The French Vu and Art et Médecine put his shots on the covers of multiple issues. The editor of the former was André’s greatest collaborator – Lucien Vogel.
They were working together on a series of photo essays where numerous events were reported via pictures. In 1933, he published a collection of his pictures that became widely popular.
25. Robert Frank Website
Starting in commerce in 1941, Frank found employment in the several biggest Swiss cities. In only 6 years, he already moved to America and changed his field to fashion, with his non-mainstream 35mm Leica. The next decade was spent among American street photographers, where Frank earned quite a fame. That allowed him to tour the country with the Guggenheim Fellowship and give birth to his most renown project: The Americans.
His peculiar feature was to accompany the shots with inscriptions made directly on the film or prints. While this great project was preparing to be published, Frank gradually switched to filmmaking. In 1959, together with Kerouac he created the famous Pull My Daisy that starred a few actors of the Beat circle.
Location: Hungary + France
Brassaï was appreciated abroad in the previous century. His monochrome art prospered between the two World Wars, humor and descriptiveness being the major components of its success. The first collection, Paris de Nuit (Paris by Night), was published as a book in 1933 and was a deep insight into the city’s life.
Henry Miller even called it the "the eye of Paris" in his essay, so big was the significance of this work. During that year, Brassaï also became the founding member of the Rapho agency.
27. Diane Arbus Website
A simple present from her husband followed by some classes on photography is what brought Diane to becoming one of the best street photographers. As the peace settled in 1946, she and her husband opened a shared business named after them both.
Diane took the part of an art director while her husband was taking the shots. Somewhat ironically, they played a large role in fashion photography, shooting for several biggest magazines, even though both claimed to hate the industry.
Almost a decade after, one of their works was included in a large exhibition, The Family of Man. Later, in 1963, Diane obtained a Guggenheim Fellowship.
28. Daidō Moriyama Website
One of the best street photographers to depict the downfall of tradition in his country after the war. Daidō learned the trade as an architectural photographer and then transferred to be an assistant for Eikoh Hosoe. His first major project was wholly devoted to city life, showing its darker sides, and was called Nippon gekijō shashinchō.
He carried this on in his following works, documenting the changing manufacturing areas and their inhabitants. He collaborated with the Provoke Magazine which was said to have influenced his style.
29. William Klein Website
A grand name among city photographers, William remains active in his profession even after turning 90. His personal style is marked with strong irony that he carries into whatever genre he is currently working on, from journalism to fashion. Peculiar perspectives and other unusual techniques are other remarkable features of his photography.
He might use a wide-angle, telephoto lens, set a motion blur, or only use the natural light. Many awards have been given to William, including a Prix Nader in 1957 and an Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award
30. Vivian Maier Website
This name appeared among the street photography masters by accident, when Vivian’s possessions were sold at an auction after she passed away. A few huge suitcases filled to the brim with negatives, around 200,000 of them, were bought. When the new owner saw the works, he made them public and they immediately went viral. Vivian worked as a nanny and photography was a hobby, but a passionate one that drove her to take hundreds of pictures a year.
She kept it to herself, though, which is why little is known about this street image enthusiast.
Her works are being exhibited all over the place. Moreover, a documentary, Finding Vivian Maier was made in an attempt to learn more about this persona.
Are you wondering why all these street photography people have become the best? The point is not only in excellent composition. For street photos to look luxurious, you need good photo post-processing, which can be done using these free filters.
Street Bokeh Light "Magic Glitter"
For romantic images, this bokeh overlay is indispensable, making them brighter and adding small specks of light. Perfect if you want to make the atmosphere full of magic.
Street Color "Creative"
The effect shifts the color temperature to the blues and increases the brightness. Such an action looks the best in images with many color accents.
Cinematic Street Tone "Contrast"
If the colors of your photo look flat or washed-out, this action can easily correct that. It adds dimension to the images by highlighting shadows and bringing out the main subject. It is easy to alter the whole look just by shifting the contrast slider.
Street "Soft Contrast"
For those who don’t like it too bright, this effect is the best. It softens the image, increases the contrast, and does a wonderful job on the skin tones. Perfect for urban portraits.
Glow Street "Gentle"
For a tender image, this preset is the best free instrument. The colors are shifted towards the beige spectrum, which adds sensuality to a portrait. In overexposed images, the effect might look too blank.
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