Between 1917 and 1937, Alfred Stieglitz (more) shot over 300 portraits of Georgia O’Keefe (and he was married to her). Stieglitz believed a portrait needs to be more than just the face to portray the subject’s overall experience.

"Stieglitz had a very sharp eye for what he wanted to say with the camera… His idea of a portrait was not just one picture. His dream was to start with a child at birth and photograph that child in all of its activities as it grew to be a person and on throughout its adult life. As a portrait it would be a photographic diary." -Georgia O’Keefe

The last photo of Georgias hands was sold for $1,470,000 in 2006. And is one of the most expensive photographs sold.

An American photographer, born in 1881, Alfred Stieglitz (more) was an influential photographer who spent his life fighting for the recognition of photography as a valid art form. He was a pioneering photographer, editor and gallery owner who played pivotal role in defining and shaping modernism in the United States. He took pictures in a time when photography was considered as only a scientific curiosity and not an art. As the controversy over the art value of photography became widespread, Stieglitz began to fight for the recognition of his chosen medium. This battle would last his whole life.

In 1915, Man Ray (more here) had his first one-man show of paintings and drawings. His first proto-Dada object, an assemblage titled “Self-Portrait”, was exhibited the following year. He produced his first significant photographs in 1918.

Also found a copy of Man Ray Dada essay on-line for you to enjoy. Although if reading anything by him I would strongly suggest his essay ”To Be Continued, Unnoticed” that has my favourite quote by Man Ray ”There is no progress in art, any more than there is progress in making love. There are simply different ways of doing it.” Spot on, right?

While living in New York City, Man Ray (more here) with his friend Marcel Duchamp, formed the American branch of the Dada movement, which began in Europe as a radical rejection of traditional art. He co-founded the group of modern artists called Others.

Shortly before World War II, Man Ray returned to the United States and settled in Los Angeles from 1940 until 1951. He was disappointed that he was recognized only for his photography in America and not for the filmmaking, painting, sculpture, and other media in which he worked. In 1951 Man Ray returned to Paris. He concentrated primarily on painting until his death in 1976.

Born in Philadelphia, Emmanuel Radnitsky grew up in New Jersey and became a commercial artist in New York in the 1910s. He began to sign his name Man Ray (more here) in 1912, although his family did not change its surname to Ray until the 1920s. He initially taught himself photography in order to reproduce his own works of art, which included paintings and mixed media. In 1921 he moved to Paris and set up a photography studio to support himself. There he began to make photograms, which he called “Rayographs.” In the 1920s, he also began making moving pictures. Man Ray’s four completed films—Return to Reason, Emak Bakia, Starfish, and Mystery of the Chateau—were all highly creative, non-narrative explorations of the possibilities of the medium.

Eugene Atget (1857 - 1927) (More of his work here)

Another great photographer, Ansel Adams (1902-84), writing in 1931, said: “The charm of Atget lies not in the mastery of the plates and papers of his time, nor in the quaintness of costume, architecture and humanity as revealed in his pictures, but in his equitable and intimate point of view… The Atget prints are direct and emotionally clean records of a rare and subtle perception, and represent perhaps the earliest expression of true photographic art.”

Eugene Atget (1857 - 1927) (more of his work here) was one of the first photographers who documented the streets of Paris. Atget arrived in the city from Bordeaux in 1896 at the age of 40. Two years later he decided to devote himself to photography. His writings on the subject indicate that right from the start he wanted to collect images of everything he thought “artistic or picturesque in and around Paris.” Atget’s work is unique on two levels. He was the maker of a great visual catalogue of the fruits of French culture, as it survived in and near Paris in the first quarter of this century. He was in addition a photographer of such authority and originality that his work remains a bench mark against which much of the most sophisticated contemporary photography measures itself.

The pictures that he made in the service of this concept are seductively and deceptively simple, wholly poised, reticent, dense with experience, mysterious, and true.

Ansel Adams’  passion for the land wasn’t limited to vistas he framed through the lens. In 1936, he accompanied his photos to Washington to lobby for the preservation of the Kings Canyon area in California. Sure enough, he was successful, and it was declared a national park.

Brashly declaring photography to be “a blazing poetry of the real,” Ansel Adams eschewed manipulations, claiming they were simply derivative of other art forms. Instead, he preached the value of “pure photography.” In an era when handheld point-and-shoot cameras were quickly becoming the norm, Adams and other landscape photographers clung to their bulky, old-fashioned large-format cameras. Ultimately, Adams’ pictures turned photography into fine art.

Nowadays a lot of his works are constantly featured in annual calendars

Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park.

Some claim photography can be divided into two eras: Before Adams and After Adams. In Times B.A., for instance, photography wasn’t widely considered an art form. Rather, photographers attempted to make their pictures more “artistic” (i.e., more like paintings) by subjecting their exposures to all sorts of extreme manipulations, from coating their lenses with petroleum jelly to scratching the surfaces of their negatives with needles. Then came Ansel Adams, helping shutterbugs everywhere get over their collective inferiority complex.