Landscape photography as an art form has been developing and gestating for over a century, and it took some remarkable landscape photographers to set the foundation.
As there are no definitive criteria for how good a landscape photographer is, I decided to rank them by the year of birth, which should roughly reflect their years of work.
This list represents landscape photographers that had the most influence on the development of this nature-loving genre.
With new talents being introduced to the world of landscape photography every year, I will make sure to keep adding the relevant names.
Ansel Adams was an American born landscape photographer, best known for his black and white photos of untouched and wild American West.
Adam was an environmental conservationist, and after he was given his first camera at the age of 12, he has fought to preserve the environment. He worked with the government and helped expand the National Park System.
Ansel co-founded Group f/64, a group by seven San Francisco Area photographers with a common style of photography. He also developed Zone System technique in collaboration with Fred Archer, helped found Aperture a magazine that features photographs by well-established photographers, and co-founded a research facility on the University of Arizona, Center for Creative Photography.
In 1980, four years before his death, Ansel was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments.
Minor (Martin) White
Minor White was an American landscape photographer, educator, critic, and theoretician, known for his colour and black-and-white photographs of people, landscapes, and abstract compositions.
His work was influenced by his interest in how people as individuals perceive and apprehend photographs.
During his early years as a photographer, Minor organized workshops, taught classes, and lead retreats on photography in California, Massachusetts, and New York.
After World War II, he started working with Ansel Adams with whom Minor later co-founded Aperture magazine. Not long after that, Minor helped found journal Image, and worked as editor of both for several years.
Towards the end of his career, Minor White released two very well-known collections: Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations (1969) and Minor White: Rites and Passages (1978).
Franco Fontana is an Italian landscape photographer best known for his abstract colour landscapes.
Fontana has photographed for large companies’ advertising campaigns, including Volkswagen, Fiat, Sony, Volvo, Canon, Kodak, and many more. He has also been photographer of several magazines, such as Time, Vogue, Life, Panorama, and The New York Times.
Fontana has brought disruption into the style of colour photography in 1960s. Diana Baldon observes: “/…/ The way Fontana shoots, dematerialises the objects photographed, which loose three-dimensionality and realism to become part of an abstract drawing“.
Galen Rowell was an American landscape photographer. Being an eager traveler and climber, he photographed remote parts of the world to introduce society to a steadily-shrinking wilderness.
Rowell’s most famous photo is “Rainbow over Potala Palace, Lhasa” (see below), a stunning moment when a rainbow “touched” the famous Dalai Lama’s palace.
He didn’t only contribute to several magazines, such as Life, Outdoor Photographer, and National Geographic, Rowell also published 18 books on photography, My Tibet (1990), for example.
Galen received Ansel Adams Award in 1984 and photographed Antarctica for National Science Foundation Reward in 1992.
Being a specialist in nature and landscape photography, and having lived near Yosemite National Park since 1983, Michael Frye is the author of three ebooks (Landscapes in Lightroom), three titles in the Yosemite Meditations series, and has written numerous magazine articles.
His work has been published all around the world in popular photo magazines including Outdoor Photographer, American Photo, National Wildlife, Texas Highways, and Sunset.
William Neill is a landscape photographer from Yosemite National Park area dedicated to capturing deep, spiritual beauty he sees in nature.
Neill’s award-winning work has been published in calendars, posters, limited-edition prints, books, and magazines, and exhibited in galleries and museums, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, The Polaroid Collection, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and The Vernon Collection.
Peter was the first Australian landscape photographer who was inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame.
Peter Dombrovskis is known for his Tasmanian landscape photos, which formed his Wilderness Calendar produced by Tasmanian Wilderness Society, introduced remote areas of the State to the public.
His most famous photo “Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend” is believed to have helped Bob Hawke win the federal election in 1983.
Charlie Waite, a landscape photographer from England, has received many prestigious awards, including Best Landscape Photography’s ‘Power of Visionary Award’ and Honorary Fellowship to the British Institute of Professional Photography.
Charlie discussed one of his best photographs for digitalcameraworld, “I looked at the various people coming along /…/ all of a sudden I saw to my right a cyclist”. As he started to mount the camera on a tripod, the cyclist curiously looked at him, and “that face was crucial because it engages the viewer with the image”, he adds.
Charles Cramer has in his 40-year career as a landscape photographer, achieved great success, especially by photographing Yosemite.
Cramer has been included in several published books, profiled in popular photography magazines he has taught for several workshops, including Ansel Adams Gallery Workshops and John Sexton Workshops.
He has been included in Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite for his superb landscape photos of Yosemite nature.
Frans Lanting is a Dutch National Geographic’s nature and landscape photographer.
His most notable achievements include an exhibit in Field Museum of Natural History (2005), exhibit Life: A Journey Through Time in California (2006), and a travelling exhibition Frans Lanting: LIFE (2006) at the Dutch natural history museum.
Lanting was also featured in National Geographic, Outdoor Photographer, Life, and Audobon. In 2012, he became an ambassador of the World Wide Fund for Nature in the Netherlands.
Alex is a German-born landscape photographer best known for his almost eerie shots of landscape and cityscapes. His photos are void of emotion, but you will likely leave feeling adventurous and questioning the intention of the photo.
He’s a recipient of German Academic Exchange Service scholarship that enabled him to study in London, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff scholarship, and the Hermann Claasen Prize for Creative Photography.
John Sexton is an American landscape photographer who specializes in traditional analogue black and white photography. He worked with Ansel Adams, and following his death John was promoted from Technical and Photographic Assistant to Special Projects Consultant to take care of Ansel Adams Right Trust.
His style heavily resembles that of his mentor, Ansel Adams; however, in contrast to Adams’ work, Sexton captures intimate and detailed scenes instead of wide landscapes.
Michael Kenna is an English landscape photographer with a rich black and white photography opus. He photographed commercially for Volvo, Audi, Rolls-Royce, his work if permanently held in some of the finest collections in the world, such as Paris, Washington DC, Tokyo, and London.
With some of his work being quite abstract, Kenna pays special attention to the printing of his photos. He also commented, “I am attracted to seemingly ‘unfinished’ works that are not full of information.“
While not a conventional landscape photographer, Edward Burtynsky photographs industrial landscapes, that picture how industry alters nature. Edward often travelled to China to capture its industrial expansion and the effect it has on the environment.
A beautiful quote by Edward, “[we] come from nature.…There is an importance to [having] a certain reverence for what nature is because we are connected to it… If we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves.“
Andreas is a German photographer known for his large-format architecture and landscape colour photos, for which he often uses a high point of view to capture the scene. He is one of the best-paid landscape photographers, with one of his photos sold for $4.3 mil in 2011.
Rhein II, the most expensive photograph ever sold, is the image of a river Lower Rhine that flow horizontally between flat green fields and under an overcast sky. It’s worth noting that in reality there are several factory buildings in the background that Andreas removed in post process.
David is an accomplished landscape photographer born in Britain. In the 35 years of being a professional photographer, David has travelled all around the globe and worked for Canon, Royal Mail, the National Trust, and BBC Enterprises.
Noton has also won awards in the largest wildlife photography competition in the world, Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 1985, 1989, and 1989, and became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.
Joe Cornish is a landscape photographer who focuses on education and conservation. After he led an expedition to Alaska, his newfound experience and perspective on landscape and nature, resulted in him becoming addicted to the wilderness.
His several achievements include being a judge on Wildlife Photographer of the Year, an honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and a Chair of the RPS Fellowship committee.
Peter Lik is an Australian landscape photographer and a self-proclaimed “most famous photographer”. While there’s a lot of controversy around sales and post-production of his photos, Peter captures high-contrast, heavily saturated photos.
Peter Lik allegedly sold his famous “Phantom” for an astonishing $6.5 million to a private collector; however, this purchase has never been officially confirmed.
Nadav Kander is an Israeli portrait and landscape photographer based in London, whose work is included in the collection of the Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and other galleries.
Nadav’s most famous image, “Diver”, is of a lone woman looking at a vast lake. He also captured the famous portrait of the then-incumbent President Barack Obama for the New York Times magazine.
Guy Tal describes himself with, “I do not consider myself a photographer who creates art, but rather an artist working in the medium of photography.”
Growing up in Israel, Tal fell in love with American West, and after years of hard work, he got an opportunity to move to Utah. Tal now mainly works almost from his home, the high deserts of the Colorado Plateau.
Mark Littlejohn has despite his late start to photography been awarded several times, peaking with Take a View UK Landscape Photographer in 2014.
He became a landscape photographer by recording the views of his early morning walks in the northern Lake District. He has been known to wake up as early as 1 am to capture beautifully diffused light as the Sun start to rise above the morning mist.
Simone Nieweg has for 30 years photographed fields, gardens, and forests, during which she received Henning Award from the Arts Foundation of Modern and Contemporary Art.
While her photos may not be the flashiest and awe-inspiring, Simone’s photos her art expresses the effects of human presence on the landscape on the outskirts of cities.
This German-born landscape photographer took a slightly different approach to photography. Jörg photographs display windows and mundane landscapes, that he scans into his computer, changes them, and then makes film negatives of these images from which the final prints are created.
To emphasize the fact that the images were computer-made, he names all his images with four-digit numbers. For example, in the image below, the carousel was not moving in the original photo.
Keith Walklet is an author of four books about Yosemite and a couple of articles for Ansel Adams website. His work has been featured in many Fine Art Galleries; at the moment his works is represented in The Ansel Adams Gallery and Sun to Moon Gallery.
Laurenz portrays the impact of the Second World War and the Cold War on society and infrastructure. His photos are dull and unsaturated; however, upon more careful examination a deeper intent can be found in his composition.
Laurenz created a collection of photos that he took in his hometown, Cloppenburg. His otherwise moody pictures were added some additional colour, that made the town appear a touch more colourful and landscapes not as dreary.
Elger Esser is a lyrical landscape photographer from Germany. His photos are characterized by the golden light that creates a special atmosphere and gives the viewer a feeling of watching an antique postcard.
Esser explained, “I am interested in capturing and preserving subjective memories, time and tranquillity,“. His works are featured in collections in Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Ted Gore is an accomplished landscape photographer from California, going on adventures in the various wilderness areas all over the world, such as Dolomites, California Sierras and Patagonia.
Besides organizing workshops and creating instructional videos, Ted was awarded the title of USA Landscape Photographer of the Year for 2015.
Marc spends several months each year running his Photo Adventures in the wilderness of western Canada and Alaska. His love for nature is expressed in his dramatic, beautiful, and inspiring photos.
This landscape photographer is open about the difficulties he had in school, which pushed him into an improvisation that had a significant influence on his work and success in photography.
Albert Dros has been described as “A Perfectionist Photographer from the Netherlands” by Sony, the camera company he works for as an ambassador.
His work, that ranges from landscape to abstract and artistic, has been featured in National Geographic, Huffington Post, Time, and Daily Mail.
His photos are soft and full of vibrant colours, creating a fairytale atmosphere that inspired many other landscape photographers.
Albert challenges himself by finding beauty everywhere he travels, from vast cityscapes to misty morning deep in the wild.
Daniel Kordan is a Russian landscape photographer. Having grown up in a remote area of this enormous country, he had the chance to admire the beautiful nature since he’s been a little kid.
A lot of his older photos were ultra-wide shots of spectacular vistas he came across when travelling; however, recently his shots are often more detail-oriented and include people.
This Russian landscape photographer has received several awards, such as Golden Turtle ’13, National Geographic Russia ’13 and ’14 finalist, Best of Russia ’13 and ’14 winner, and Best Photographer ’13 finalist.
Conclusion | Landscape photographers
There are tens if not hundreds of amazing landscape photographers that contributed to photography, so it would be impossible to include them all.
If you think I forgot someone important, please let me know in the comments and I’ll consider adding them to the list.