All images by the respective photographers. Used with permission in our original interviews with them.
One of the truest facts of photography and the art world is that ideas always become recycled, modified and worked on. Photographers are always looking for new inspiration and ways to incorporate other ideas into their own current creative endeavors. But amongst all of the photographers out there, 12 stand out to us more than the others.
This isn’t any ordinary list. The folks like Zack Arias, Jeremy Cowart, and Brian Matiash are all well known amongst the photography community. These folks aren’t necessary the underdogs, but you should consider them to be up-and-coming at the very least.
Sarah Loreth has to be one of the more incredible photographers that we’ve had the pleasure of talking to. Her day job involves not only shooting, but travelling and teaching workshops about landscape photography and so much more. But besides shooting landscapes, she’s one heck of a portrait photographer, fashion photographer, and surreal conceptual shooter.
While many photographers try to specialize on one thing, Sarah is the exception that excels in many different genres.
Connor Harrigan is a portrait photographer based in New York that has some of the best composition sense that we’ve seen. His strength is in how he works with people to bring out the best in his subjects. Connor is also quite the photo editor and creates work that is very much in line with the current trend of flawed and vintage inspired photography that captivates us all.
Photographer Martin Stavers specializes in black and white photography, but that statement surely doesn’t do his work justice. Martin shoots high contrast black and white photos that are essentially rendered into shapes that viewers can see with all simplicity while being awe-inspired by the images.
Martin loves travelling and taking tours around cities before he even starts to really being photographing. He mostly looks for places that are high above the ground. Surely though, Martin’s work very much speaks for itself.
Lester Cannon is a photographer in the US Military and has an affinity for portrait shooting and working with film. In fact, Lester feels incredibly strong about film photography–believing that every photographer should shoot with it. His travels take him around and he gets to meet lots of new people because of it. This worked right in conjunction with him wanting to photograph people–and even further with working during the Golden Hour; which Lester states he wasn’t even really aware that he was shooting during.
Besides portraits, Lester also does documentary and photojournalistic style images and a sense of human connection is extremely evident in every image.
Marius Vieth is a photographer that started out of frustration with finding a way to express himself creatively–and found it in photography. Marius is a multi-award winning photographer for many of the images that he creates. He’s very passionate about street photography and emphasizes his work isn’t about the gear; it’s about creative expression. Some of our favorite projects are his Neo-Noir photos and his other project “Under My Umbrella.”
In a time when street photography is under heavy scrutiny, Marius is proof that it can be artistic.
Jenna Martin isn’t only inspirational for her photography, but for the fact that she’s also a very uplifting photographer that cares about helping those who are newer to the craft. We first featured her photos in our Creating the Photograph series, but then wanted to talk to her more about her surreal images. Jenna is one of those surreal photographers that suffers from insomnia and so she gets her ideas at odd hours of the night–which she then translates into images. Her feelings and comparisons in real life are translated into images after she carefully creates scenes.
David Kai Piper
David Kai Piper is a photographer very much on top of his game and who has very recently reached a big level of personal success. In a conversation with me, David said that he is now at the point where he works on projects that only he wants to work on, not everything that comes his way. Many photographers are all about the hustle, and even though David is still hustling, and he’s become much more well regarded in the fashion world over in Europe.
But beyond this, David is sponsored by Fujifilm and goes on to prove that even mirrorless cameras can do professional quality work with the right creative vision.
Photographer Cedric Blanchon is the winner of last year’s EyeEm awards in the Illusionist category. Like a couple of others on this list, Cedric is a surreal photographer that expresses himself through images. What’s special about Cedric is that he works only with mobile platforms. The image above was shot with his phone. In fact, it’s two images with one superimposed over the other. Further, many of his photos are shot and edited like this.
Sara S Webb
Sara S Webb doesn’t consider herself a photographer, but the EyeEm community seems to be smitten with her work. By mostly using her phone, Sara creates dark impressionist images that are her own personal creative outlet. Though she wanted to go to photography school, she ended up being a hair stylist instead.
With drone photography becoming such a hot topic these days, this list wouldn’t be complete without a solid drone photographer. Amongst our favorites is Chris Schmid–who describes himself as a visual storyteller who fell in love with image taking in 2005.
“I’ve been always searching for innovative and unusual points of view in my photographic process. So in early 2013 I started to make some research about drones.” says Chris. “I wanted to be sure that it was working great because when you spend $3,500, you want to be sure that you’ll get results.” Chris often shoots landscapes and adventure work with his drones and cameras. His drone photography and especially his landscapes are very much a treat to the eyes.
BONUS: Jaroslav Wieczorkiewiczs
Remember those Milky Pinups? What about the splash heroes? They’re both the creation of Jaroslav Wieczorkiewiczs, the mastermind behind Aurumlight and some of the most captivating images of our time that not only involve true creativity, but some serious technical know-how when it comes to lighting and flash duration. Indeed, very few photographers are on his level–and he is very worthy of being on our list of Inspirational Photographers for 2015.