Landscape photography is about much more than just capturing the surrounding environment. Its most powerful role is to help us re-discover ourselves and our love for the natural world. As such, we have chosen ten impressive contemporary landscape photographers that managed to profoundly move us with their work. Their photographic talent, skills, and vision enable these famous landscape photographers to convey meaning to their photos by exposing the incredible beauty and philosophical ambivalence of our world.
If you like your landscape photography popping with energy and color, you will love the work of Krzysztof Browco. His photos are rich in color and texture, thus creating stunningly vivid images. Like many professional landscape photographers, Browco uses this fine art strictly for the joy it brings – his main source of income is a well-developed career in IT.
- Browco has earned multiple awards for his landscape photography including a Better Photography Photo of the Year award, Rule of Thirds photo contest, Valleys and Canyons contests, and many others. He’s also been featured in dozens of exhibitions all around the world and is one of the most famous landscape photographers.
Francesco Gola stated he uses photography to unplug from modern life and we can definitely see this in his landscapes and long exposures. After a quick glance at Gola’s website we can notice his attraction towards seascapes. His shots seem to portray a parallel universe due to the originality of his work and creative process. What we like most about the Italian engineer,though, is the way he manages to create deeply moving photographs by allowing his mental and emotional state on the one hand, and his vision on the other hand, take the lead.
- Gola’s client & partnership portfolio includes names like Apple, PhotoPills, Meizu, or Rollei, so it’s easy to why he’s considered one of the famous landscape photographers today.
If you appreciate detailed, bold, and colorful landscapes and don’t mind a small amount of digital manipulation in photographic art, then Andreas Gursky‘s work will impress you. Ever since 1988, Gursky has used digital technology to create works of art of up to 15 feet tall. His work was influenced by Bernd and Hilla Becher. Ever since, he traveled all throughout Asia to capture its architectural and natural beauty. His work has been exhibited in museums all around Europe and the rest of the world.
- Andreas Gursky holds the record for the most expensive photograph sold at Christie’s in New York for over $4 million back in 2011.
- His work has been included in around 30 exhibitions all over Europe, Asia, and the Americas and is one of the most famous landscape photographers.
The photographs and landscapes captured by David Keochkerian are deeply moving, not just due to his incredible photographic skill and wonderful blend of colors employed, but also due to the deep emotion which these pictures convey. Furthermore, stunning landscapes are combined with a human element to give a strong feeling of peaceful nostalgia. His other pictures also combine the beautiful and the stunning with deep melancholy, making the viewer experience powerful ambivalent feelings.
- David considers himself an amateur photographer, but his works and the online communities he has drawn together are anything but!
If you are interested in starting off with landscape photography and want to know the basics, we recommend reading our collection of tips for landscape photography!
Paul Kowalski‘s work is shot exclusively on medium format film which, to him, is a challenge that leads to very satisfying results. His work portrays the natural beauty of the Australian continent in high-quality, handcrafted large-scale pieces with a unique vibe. After taking a glance at his work, the first thing you mention is how immaculate and timeless it all is.
Kowalski definitely stands out as one of the few landscape photographers who not only still use film cameras. He has elevated the techniques of landscape film photography to a whole new level, which is why he’s now one of the most famous landscape photographers.
- In 2012, Kowalski quit his corporate job to follow his dream and opened a gallery in New South Wales, Australia, where he is selling his work and organizing photography workshops.
Discover more about Paul’s craft and projects in our interview with the Australian landscape photographer.
One of the most famous landscape photographers out there, Peter Lik has extensive experience with professional photography. One of his pictures (Ghost) holds the record for the most expensive photograph ever sold. In the photo, the sun’s rays gleaming through a canyon take the shape of a person due to the dust in the air. The picture takes uniqueness to a whole new level, as it would not have been possible to take it except at that precise fraction of a second before the human-like shape was lost to the wind.
The Australian photographer’s success is more than matched by his skill at capturing landscape images in a wide variety of environments, urban, natural or with mixed elements.
- Lik is said to have sold the most expensive photograph of all times. It is called Phantom and was sold for $6.5 million.
- He has earned two master of photography awards and three fellowship awards among other international and local prizes.
Breathtaking and awe-inspiring, Max Rive’s work inspires us through beauty, emotion, and powerful philosophical themes. First of all, the complexity and quality of the colors are simply stunning. Secondly, the landscapes are superb, showing Earth’s marvelous shapes at their very best. Finally, the human element in the pictures speaks volumes about man’s eternal fascination with the unknown and will move even the most indifferent person to secretly long for a life of exploration, travel, and discovery.
The picture below is one of the most representative examples in this regard. The end of the ascent subtly hints at the inherent limitations imposed on human knowledge and achievement by the universe. However, despite being aware of this, the climber cannot help wishing for more. Thus, his desire for more is represented by pointing towards the setting sun. The combination of photographic mastery and deep philosophical connotations should definitely make Max Rive one of the most famous landscape photographers of our time.
- Rive got the first place in multiple international and local photography contests and awards including the International Loupe Awards, the Dutch Photography awards, Wexas Traveler, and many others.
- He has also been published in photography magazines from UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, China, Brazil, and South Africa.
Kilian Schoenberger has a fine sense of color and proportion to match the excellent location choices. His work impresses through the primal Northern landscapes and wild forests, captured in immaculate quality from excellent angles. The Norwegian landscapes are haunting as they are beautiful and reveal a beautiful but untamed land, in which survival without modern technology would be extremely hard.
Very well planned and timed, Kilian Schoenberger’s photos make number five on our list. The main reason is how he gives the harshness of nature a romantic touch.
- Schoenberger’s client portfolio include Canon, Adobe, and National Geographic.
- His work has been exhibited in multiple museums from Europe and displayed in international photography magazines.
- His photos have also been displayed in international media outlets like CNN, Daily Mail, Smithsonian Magazine, Huffington Post, and others.
Sugimoto’s work combines extended exposure with painting, installation, and architecture elements to create bold, deep, and magical pieces of art. His seascapes are, in our opinion, something out of this world, and this is due mainly to his technique of capturing the nature of reality, which blends in natural elements with optical illusions created by his large-format camera and lens. Check out the official website of Hiroshi Sugimoto to see more of his creations.
- Starting with 1977, Hiroshi Sugimoto has earned several international fellowships, prizes, and contests; although most of them focused on photography, some were earned for his skills in painting, architecture, and other arts while others were honorary prizes for his contribution to society.
Darren White is a master of blending colors and exposing stark natural contrasts. He takes his place amongst famous landscape photographers due to his innate talent at combining natural and man-made elements into a harmonious whole. For instance, a key theme in many of his photographs is the peaceful and sustainable coexistence of man and nature. His desert photograph below shows just how fragile this balance is. With photographs filled with emotion and hidden meaning, Darren White earns his place among our top five famous landscape photographers.
- Darren White’s work has been printed in photography magazines like Popular Photography or Columbia Gorge Magazine and was also mentioned in National Geographic Traveler.
Michael Kenna is one of the most famous British landscape photographers, renowned for his unique black and white images featuring ethereal light due to his preference for shooting at dawn or at night with long exposures. He uses mainly Hasselblad medium format and Holga cameras, which is why most of his photographs are of square format.
- Michael Kenna’s photographs are up for display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, and the the Patrimoine photographique in Paris.
- In 2000, Kenna was made a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in France.
Fay Godwin is one of the most famous English landscape photographers, well-know for her black and white landscape photographs of the British countryside and coast. Godwin published 17 books, but the the one she will be most remembered is Land (1985), a collection of her landscape photographs with accompanying text by novelist John Fowles.
- In 1990, Fay Godwin received a honorary fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.
Chris Burkard is an American photographer based in California Central Coast region. One of the most famous contemporary landscape photographers, Burkard is appreciated for his landscape, outdoor, lifestyle, and surf photographs. This young photographer operates a full service studio in Grover Beach, California where he shoots commercial and editorial work.
- Awarded the Morro Bay Art Society Award in 2005.
- Red Bull Illume Overall Competition winner in 2010.
- Presented with the Visionary Photographer Award in 2016.
Being a famous landscape photographer implies technical mastery of the photographic arts. However, it also requires feelings, philosophy, and a creative, unrestricted mind. As such, only the very best famous landscape photographers can combine all the necessary skills and mindsets into an eclectic approach which will truly move viewers to discover their hidden longings and emotions.
Featured image source: 500px.com