Landscape photography has the power to captivate and inspire, showcasing the remarkable beauty of our natural world. This blog post takes you on a visual journey through the work of 20 famous landscape photographers whose skill and creativity have earned them worldwide recognition.
From Ansel Adams’ influential environmentalism to Charlie Waite’s creation of the Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards, each artist brings their unique style and perspective to this breathtaking genre.
1. Ansel Adams
- Birth year: 1902
- Death year: 1984
- City/Province of birth: San Francisco, California, United States
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Black and white landscapes, especially of the American West
- Notable artwork: The Tetons and the Snake River
Ansel Adams is one of America’s most famous landscape photographers. With his distinct focus on the American West’s breathtaking landscapes and national parks – especially Yosemite National Park – Adams quickly established himself as a pioneer of landscape photography.
On top of being celebrated for his artistic achievements, Ansel Adams also made valuable technical contributions to the photography world by developing the Zone System—a technique designed to optimize exposure control accuracy—and authored numerous books on theory and practice.
2. Michael Kenna
- Birth year: 1953
- City/Province of birth: Widnes, England
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Black and white minimalist landscapes
- Notable artwork: Hokkaido
Michael Kenna, another in the famous landscape photographers group, has made a name for himself with his striking black-and-white images. Kenna draws inspiration from the natural beauty of deserted landscapes.
Kenna’s work shares an esteemed reputation alongside other famous landscape photographers, like Ansel Adams and Sebastião Salgado. He is known for capturing scenes that evoke emotions, such as the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he captured haunting images reflecting human tragedy.
3. Charlie Waite
- Birth year: 1949
- City/Province of birth: England
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape photography, use of light and shape
- Notable artwork: Elgol, Isle of Skye, Scotland
British Charlie Waite is another of the famous landscape photographers who have significantly impacted the world of nature photography. As the founder of the prestigious Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards, he continues to inspire both seasoned and aspiring nature photographers with his unique skill set and artistic vision.
Over his extensive career in landscape photography, Charlie Waite has published several books, including “Behind the Photograph.” In addition, he founded Light & Land, offering informative photography magazine, photography workshops, and tours.
4. David Noton
- Birth year: 1957
- City/Province of birth: England
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape photography, travel photography
- Notable artwork: Alpenglow on Mt Cook, New Zealand
David Noton is an award-winning landscape photographer with over 32 years of experience in environmental and nature photography. He grew up in Ontario, Canada, which he claims helped cultivate his love for the natural world and unique eye.
David Noton has focused on photographing jungles and tropical rainforests worldwide. His commitment to showcasing the natural beauty of these environments is evident in his work. David Noton continues to push boundaries with his landscape photography.
5. Edward Burtynsky
- Birth year: 1955
- City/Province of birth: St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Industrial landscapes, environmental photography
- Notable artwork: Oil Spill series
Edward Burtynsky is a Canadian professional photographer with critical acclaim for his striking images of industrial landscapes. He started his photography career by shooting “pristine landscapes” but soon shifted to documenting the human impact on nature due to globalization and industrialization.
Burtynsky’s photography raises essential questions about sustainability and environmentalism as it documents how human activity profoundly affects our planet. His artistic vision captures nature and helps us see beyond destruction or decay.
6. Richard Misrach
- Birth year: 1949
- City/Province of birth: Los Angeles, California, United States
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscapes, human impact on the environment
- Notable artwork: Golden Gate Bridge series
Richard Misrach is a famous landscape photographer who has been capturing the beauty of nature for over 40 years. He is considered one of the most influential photographers in his field and is known for his pioneering work in color photography and large-scale prints.
Misrach’s fine art photography is exhibited in numerous galleries worldwide. Richard Misrach’s work creates social commentary through contemporary landscape photos that stimulate our understanding and engagement with environmental issues and preservation efforts.
7. Nadav Kander
- Birth year: 1961
- City/Province of birth: Tel Aviv, Israel
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Portraiture, landscapes, and nudes
- Notable artwork: Yangtze – The Long River
Nadav Kander is an internationally recognized fine art photographer known for his stunning landscape and portraiture work. He has won numerous awards for his photography, including being named one of the top 15 famous landscape photographers.
Kander’s most notable project is “Dust,” photographing the desolate Aral Sea region. The pictures are stark reminders of the tragic environmental destruction caused by Soviet-era irrigation projects. Nadav Kander started as a commercial photographer before branching off into fine art photography later in his career.
8. Galen Rowell
- Birth year: 1940
- Death year: 2002
- City/Province of birth: Oakland, California, United States
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Nature and adventure photography, mountain landscapes
- Notable artwork: Rainbow over the Potala Palace, Tibet
Galen Rowell was a celebrated American nature and landscape photographer, mountain climber, and author who enormously impacted the world of photography. Galen became a full-time photographer in the 1960s.
Rowell practiced what he termed “participatory photography.” This approach entailed infusing his pictures with his experiences. As a result, his best landscape photos and photography art were personal reflections of his encounters with nature. Galen Rowell left a legacy as one of the most outstanding landscape photographers.
9. Carleton Watkins
- Birth year: 1829
- Death year: 1916
- City/Province of birth: Oneonta, New York, United States
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape photography, American West
- Notable artwork: Yosemite Valley from the Best General View
Carleton Watkins pioneered American landscape photography and is considered one of the most significant photographers of his time. He made his mark great with landscape photographers producing stunning photographic work capturing the western United States during the 19th century.
Watkins arrived in California around 1851 and began photographing soon after. His extensive documentation of Yosemite’s landscape was instrumental in persuading officials to designate it as a national park.
10. Chris Burkard
- Birth year: 1986
- City/Province of birth: San Luis Obispo, California, United States
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Adventure and surf photography, landscapes, nature
- Notable artwork: The Torment (Iceland)
Chris Burkard is a renowned landscape photographer, adventurer, and influencer. Initially starting by photographing water and its surroundings, Burkard has since transitioned to outdoor, travel, adventure, and surf photography.
As both a pioneer in surf photography and a masterful landscape photographer specializing in portraying people within vast natural settings – Chris Burkard remains one of the most famous landscape photographers on Instagram, with over 3 million followers today.
11. Takeshi Mizukoshi
- Birth year: 1939
- City/Province of birth: Tokyo, Japan
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape and nature photography
- Notable artwork: Numerous works in the “Mizukoshi Landscape” series
Takeshi Mizukoshi is a Japanese landscape photographer who has won the hearts of many art lovers worldwide with his breathtaking captures. Born in 1938 in Toyohashi City, Mizukoshi studied forestry before venturing into photography.
Mizukoshi’s prowess has earned him recognition globally, and he has exhibited his work worldwide while also having it published widely. He takes a unique approach to capturing landscapes, often by exploring remote areas inaccessible to most people.
12. Franco Fontana
- Birth year: 1933
- City/Province of birth: Modena, Italy
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Abstract color landscapes, use of lines and color blocks
- Notable artwork: Luzzara
Franco Fontana has been an Italian photographer for over five decades. He is famous for his abstract color landscape photography. His portfolio is remarkable, with fine art photographs that demonstrate artistic expression like no other.
Franco Fontana has made a name for himself as a leading figure in contemporary photography. He combines his exceptional talent with years of experience to produce some of the most unique and inspiring photographs you will ever see.
13. Colin Prior
- Birth year: 1958
- City/Province of birth: Milngavie, Scotland
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Panoramic landscapes, especially in Scotland
- Notable artwork: Images from “The World’s Wild Places” series
Colin Prior is a well-known freelance landscape photographer with almost four decades of experience in the industry. His interest in photography grew from his fascination with the natural world.
Prior has worked on notable photography projects such as Living Tribes and The Karakoram, Ice Mountains Of… In addition, Prior shared his perspective on the future of professional photography, highlighting how technology and its advancements will dramatically impact it over time.
14. William Garnett
- Birth year: 1916
- Death year: 2006
- City/Province of birth: Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Aerial photography, landscapes
- Notable artwork: Dune patterns, Namib Desert, Namibia
William A. Garnett was a pioneering American landscape photographer specializing in aerial photography, revolutionizing how people viewed the world around them. Garnett’s aerial photographs of wetlands, sand dunes, and suburban sprawl resemble abstract expressionist paintings or views through a microscope.
Garnett owned his plane, which enabled him to capture high-quality aerial shots showcasing the beauty and destruction of nature due to human activities like urbanization and pollution. Garnett’s works earned him among the top ten best landscape photographers.
15. Andreas Gursky
- Birth year: 1955
- City/Province of birth: Leipzig, Germany
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Large-scale architecture and landscape photography, digital manipulation
- Notable artwork: Rhein II
Andreas Gursky is a contemporary German photographer known for his stunning landscape photographs marked by his unique approach.
Gursky’s technical proficiency in manipulating these landscapes is unparalleled. In Gursky’s work, you see a sense of detachment he generates. Using digital manipulation, he creates an illusionary view, making us contemplate reality versus fantasy.
16. Kilian Schönberger
- Birth year: 1985
- City/Province of birth: Germany
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape photography, atmospheric natural scenes
- Notable artwork: Brother’s Grimm-inspired series
Kilian Schönberger is also one of the famous landscape photographers based in Cologne, Germany. One of his projects is “The Blue Border,” a collection of blue-tinted landscape photographs taken during twilight hours. In this project, he uses his skills to create dreamlike images.
Schönberger’s work also showcases his landscape images in Nordic landscapes, the Dolomites in Italy, and Scottish Highlands. He captures their essence through his unique style of photography.
17. Joe Cornish
- Birth year: 1958
- City/Province of birth: Exeter, United Kingdom
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Landscape photography, especially of the British Isles
- Notable artwork: Notable work for the National Trust
Joe Cornish is a British photographer who has made a name for himself in landscape photography. He is known for his large-format landscapes, which capture the essence of nature in all its glory.
Based in North Yorkshire, Cornish has devoted almost four decades to landscape photography. However, his love for nature shines through his photographs. Cornish’s expertise in nature photography also extends to outdoor photography.
18. Trey Ratcliff
- Birth year: 1971
- City/Province of birth: Dallas, Texas, United States
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Travel photography, HDR photography
- Notable artwork: Temples and Reservoirs of Bagan
Trey Ratcliff has gained global recognition and is considered one of this genre’s most influential American photographers. Ratcliff’s photography skills lie in capturing breathtaking images through High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography which helped establish his website, Stuck in Customs.
His unique approach to photography has earned him numerous accolades, including the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year photography award in 2015. Trey Ratcliff is an essential name when we talk about famous landscape photographers today.
19. Stephen Shore
- Birth year: 1947
- City/Province of birth: New York City, New York, United States
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Large-format color photography, American landscapes, and urban scenes
- Notable artwork: Uncommon Places
Stephen Shore is another to add to the famous landscape photographers group. His photographic works shooting landscapes, are famous for their documentary and artistic qualities.
Shore’s Uncommon Places is a masterpiece in visual Americana. The series provides insight into ordinary American life while elevating mundane subjects to extraordinary significance. Shore represents a unique vision in landscape photography that has earned him widespread recognition from audiences worldwide.
20. Simon Norfolk
- Birth year: 1963
- City/Province of birth: Lagos, Nigeria
- Notable characteristics/subject matter: Documentary and landscape photography, war zones, and military structures
- Notable artwork: Afghanistan: Chronotopia
Simon Norfolk is a Nigerian-born British photographer whose work captures the beauty and horror of landscapes shaped by warfare and conflict. He has become one of the most famous and best landscape photographers, with his work regularly featured in National Geographic.
What sets Norfolk’s work apart is his interest in capturing the layeredness of time in his photographs. Norfolk’s photography often reflects his interests as an environmentalist, wilderness photographer, and geologist. For example, he collaborated with Danish environmentalist Klaus Thymann to create a project focused on geological layers in human history.