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Study the great masters of photography

| January 11, 2010 | 2 Comments
In photography as any other artistic endeavor it is important to stand on the shoulders of the giants and take an extra step. Masters of photography like Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, Alfred Stieglitz and many others have shaped photography as it exists today. What was it that made their photos so compelling ?

Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico by Ansel Adams

Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico by Ansel Adams

Although many of the Masters of Photography came from different countries and different points in time, one thing is certain: Their photos have changed the world.

How did they do that ?

As students of photography we need to look at their photos (like this photo “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” by Ansel Adams) ask ourselves following questions:

  1. What it is in this photo that makes it a masterpiece ?
  2. How did this subject catch the photographer’s eye ?
  3. What was he/she thinking at the time of capturing the image ?

…and many more….

Fortunately, for this particular image, there is a rich and dramatic story of making of Moonrise as documented by Ansel himself and his son. So, our tip of the week is:

Study the work of at least one of the masters of photography. Ask questions, and then seek answers.

Find the artist that you can most easily relate to and study his work. We have collected a couple of useful links that might help you in your search:

Who is your favorite Photography Master ?

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Category: Photo Enthusiast, Photography Tips

About the Author (Author Profile)

Alan Graf is the editor and founder of Digital Photography Student. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, and is also editor of – a Croatian wallpaper archive, and his own photo gallery at

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  1. […] reasons for cropping photos. Photographer’s trying to emulate a different medium (e.g. of an old film photography), crop at different aspect ratios from common 4:3 to traditional film 5:7 or 5:4, square 6:6 (to […]

  2. […] to begin – if you need some inspiration, check the work of the old masters of photography, such as Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus or Alfred Stieglitz. There are plenty of resources on the web […]

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