How would it feel to look deeply at some of the grand works from our masters of photography. Analyzing these iconic pictures would be scintillating in all forms, to appreciate such wonderful photographs which are groundbreaking in every aspect of art & photography would definitely help us in understanding the theory behind a picture. Every art lover or an aspirant in any art form would want to look upon the works of masters and this post is nothing apart from such an objective.
Here in this part 1 of this episode, We have selected some of the majestic works from our grand masters. From the editors’ point of view, it feels great to share some of the unique elements we have enjoyed looking into a photograph and also guides any amateur in the way of appreciating a photograph or an artwork. Please tell your favorite Iconic Photo in the comment section. We will discuss more pictures in our next article.
#1 Dust Storm by Steve McCurry
Dust storm in Jaisalmer by Steve McCurry. Ladies gathered in a group to stay together during tough times of the dust storm, all in vibrant red traditional Rajasthani costumes. Balanced in middle of a vertical frame with trees dancing in background to the song of storm. The Energy of nature is felt flowing in this photograph. This is lively, the count of 6 trees balancing the heads of visible 6 ladies and the pattern at which they all fall in place inside the picture is phenomenal. The Least said the pots in the foreground close to the viewer’s eye are the x-factor in this picture. It creates the space, the dimension in 3D, a perfect balancing composition to a masterpiece photograph.
© Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos
#2 Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange
Migrant Mother is one of the most iconic pictures in our history by Dorothea Lange, taken while covering migratory farmworkers in California in 1936. Strong emotions all over the frame, the gesture by the mother, her least interest towards the photographer makes it even more dramatic, a sense of reality just before your eyes. The kids turning the faces away creates a wonderful perspective to the picture and brings more dominance into the sorrows of mother here. The Questions and the very act of survival and dependency. The Baby close to her sleeping poignantly creates more uncertainty within their lives and adds much to the mood and trauma of the mother.
© Dorothea Lange
#3 The Var department. Hyères by Henri Cartier-Bresson
A brilliant picture from our father of modern photojournalism Henri Cartier-Bresson. The Decisive Moment, a term coined by the master himself is much precious in this picture. He could have pressed the shutter anytime before but to know the space the frame has got to offer and the visual balance had called for Bresson to nail it perfectly. The Steps in stairway creates a wonderful alignment to the picture, making the viewer leap out from the balcony. The Masterstroke is the slight blur in the rider which creates the energy pattern flowing inside this composition. There are shapes and Silence everywhere around you and then you see a guy riding a Bicycle. An Utter brilliance and my personal favorite from Bresson.
© Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos
#4 Eiffel Tower 100th anniversary by Elliott Erwitt
It is a well-known fact that most of our Elliot Erwitt’s pictures tend to have humor in them with a perfect blend of feel-good factor and creativity. Here in this picture weather plays a vital part by creating a mood and wanting umbrellas. The Leap of Joy from the guy in the foreground against the backdrop of Eiffel Tower is extremely strong and makes us feel in the location. The brilliance doesn’t end there, to balance the composition and add more elements of interest, we see a couple sharing some lighter moment in the mid-ground, the umbrellas flipped to the swiftness of wind is extremely poetic and answers us why this picture has still rejoiced.
© Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos
#5 Refugees in the Korem camp Ethiopia by Sebastião Salgado
Sebastiao Salgado is known for his stark and strong monochromatic portraits. This picture was taken on the refugees in Korem Camp, Ethiopia. The Statures of each character inside the frame, the blanket they are surrounded by and the distance at which they have gathered inside the frame create a sense of doubtfulness and signs of chaos in their lives. The Child close to the viewer starring down and the mother looking away from the direction of her husband created a perfect symmetry inside the frame. The Mysterious landscapes at the background and the last character walking away from this picture towards the neverland created fear and trauma inside us to feel for the condition of these refugees.
© Sebastião Salgado
#6 Women and Kali along Ganga river by Raghu Rai
Raghu Rai took up Photography accidentally and later became one of the greatest photographers from India. This picture of woman, Kali the goddess and a cow on the banks of Ganga river shows nothing but his brilliance. Looking at the picture, the leaves of the banyan tree gently flowing inside the frame, and a distant boatman sailing his boat into the mighty Ganges are perfect examples of the flow of energy inside a picture. The goddess statues on the left, a silent cow posing from behind the tree & the Woman highlighted in white standing amidst all these versatile lives is a touch of a masterclass from Raghu Rai. He likes to create more and more interestingness inside a frame and the master has achieved it perfectly here.
© Raghu Rai / Magnum Photos
#7 Famine Victim by James Nachtwey
A Victim of Famine in Sudan by James Nachtwey. One of the strongest pictures created by James. This Picture takes us to an utter sense of shock for the condition of a fellow human being somewhere in a remote village in Africa. Moving forward & Speaking about the technical and translational part of it, there is always a sense for art prevailing in most of his pictures which is absolutely the toughest thing to do when to witness something tragic and horrific. The Spinal cord of the man, with almost his bone structure protruding from his skin, shows the geometry and the water flow in his hand with his face turned away from us makes us skip a beat. A tragedy all over the frame but still a smart sense of art from James makes it very disturbing and heartfelt.
© James Nachtwey
#8 Different Directions by Fan Ho
The Master of Light and Shadows, Fan Ho is a master craftsman when it comes to street photography involving light and shadows. A Magician by all means here has captured a simple street scene with the play of light. Assuming it to be taken from inside a tram, right from the shadows of the rickshaw puller to the distant far behind a man walking in-between the vertical lines creates a delicate balance in the geometry of this iconic picture. A group of people on the mid-ground against a playful kid hoping towards the frame left is a signature touch to this brilliant composition. The Energy is very evident and the characters tend to show the busy lives on the streets all along with some superb interplay of light and shadows.
© Fan Ho
#9 Family Pictures by Sally Mann
Sally Mann known for some controversial fine-art portraits of her children. she strongly believes that it is the people very close to you who can be photographed better. In this beautiful fine-art picture, her daughter is seen posing delicately. Excellent toning to this masterpiece with perfect light and her hand gesture around her hips brings a great sense of balance to this picture. The Master touch here is the girls’ plait which is circular, it creates a grand pattern inside a silent frame. Her Bones and the white wear all bring a phenomenal silence and mood in this picture.
© Sally Mann
#10 Ashes and Snow by Gregory Colbert
Gregory Colbert has produced some unbelievable images in his world-famous photo series Ashes and Snow. In this particular picture, he continues to press harder on the relationship between Mankind and the animal kingdom. A mother her child and a pair of cheetahs. There seems to be an endless conversation between the mother and cheetah, whereas the child and the other cheetah seems to turn around their faces away. The Masterstroke here is Gregory’s rendition of mother nature, the circular pattern of love and it after all doesn’t take much time for us to understand that kid is also connected with the cheetah. Pure Brilliance from the Photographer.
© Gregory Colbert
#11 Vietnam – The Battle for Saigon by Philip Jones Griffiths
A very strong scene of sorrow scene from the Vietnam war by Philip Jones Griffiths. The Battle of Saigon has seen far too many casualties and this picture clearly shows us the state of being. A young woman is seen lying on a stretcher while a Vietnam soldier is seen guarding her or looking for more help around. The strength in his eyes, a look of vengeance and aggression clearly depicts the situation. His stature and his weapon on the other arm makes us want to know more of the story. The flames in the background and the commuters around, their stretched legs adds a great amount of drama to this scenario.
© Philip Jones Griffiths / Magnum Photos
#12 Wake of Juan Carra Trujillo by W. Eugene Smith
The Dark Reality of the living conditions in Deleitosa by W. Eugene Smith. This was during 1950 when Eugine Smith went on to report the agricultural state of affairs in Spain. This image shows the stark lives of these people against the political dictatorship of general Franciso Frano. An elderly man’s corpse is surrounded by a group of women who are believed to be his family members. The dependence of women in context to the aged man, the role he must have played in supporting this family all becomes very much clear here. The Man is the nucleus in this picture, overall this picture shows a very different culture their lifestyle and how death to the dear ones affects a family. The light on the man’s face and some ambiance inside the room provides a much gloomy environment adding to the sorrow.
© W. Eugene Smith / Magnum Photos
#13 Conversation by Josef Koudelka
A very intact picture of a man and his horse from Josef Koudelka. Indeed a Master and his horse, the posture of loyalty and the patterns of black/white on its saddle create a wonderful balance to our vision. The drama is very much intact, making the conversation between these two much louder. The Hat, his hand gesture and a rough wall at the back provides a fantastic feel to this beautiful picture.
© Josef Koudelka
#14 Fontenelle family by Gordon Parks
Fontenelle Family by Gordon Parks. Questions of survival written in every single character in this picture. The mother in the middle shows how much of a bearer she has been to this family, subtle and sorrowful emotions from the kids and the officer with spectacles rubs more sadness into the picture. Were they answered, did they find a solution to their ailing problems. The faces read a rather sinful sad story.
© Gordon Parks
#15 Winston Churchill – Portrait by Yousuf Karsh
This is a well known fact about the portraits of Yousuf Karsh. Much liveliness, true character and the factors of dominance. Here in this picture, Winston Churchill is seen at his admiring best, the toughness in his character, the posture with his hand on hip and the other resting creates a great balance within the picture. Sharp and warm eye contact creates a definite stir within anyone. Back-light adds more atmosphere and increases the patronage on the subject itself.
© Yousuf Karsh
#16 Photo by Pedro Luis Raota
Scintillating stuff from Pedro Luis Raota, arguably one of his strongest portraits. Although this is highly debatable that most of his street photographs are staged and performed, it is impossible for one to not admire and appreciate the vision behind his pictures. In this picture, everything seems to reveal itself before us, how heartbreaking must it be to a kid who has had her puppy go apart in front of her, the emotions of the girl, the black umbrella, the wetness on the road. Overall a brilliant melancholy, sadness and one of the pictures which can actually bring tears to any human.
© Pedro Luis Raota
#17 Gouyave Bar by Alex Webb
One of the greatest photographer in color, Alex webb doesn’t need much of an introduction when it comes to colors and street mood. His Pictures usually depict a brilliant balance between light and shadow. In this picture too, there is this Alex stamp all over the frame, the brilliant mood between three characters, the ambiance of the bar, the lights and darkness. And then the strong eye contact with smoke flowing away from him evokes a brilliant mood to the picture. When noticed, the first position of the man pressing hard on the table adds a tremendous weight-age to the screen left, it acts as if he is pushing the frame itself. Overall a grand picture depicting the lives of people there inside Gouyave Bar.
© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos
#18 Taxi, 1957 by Saul Leiter
Saul Leiter known for his master craft color photographs. He is one of the early color photographers who will remain an inspiration for generations to follow. Saul always is known for his delicate artistic touch of warmer shades in his picture proves yet again his brilliance here. This Picture is warm and shows a subtle shadow play on a man’s hand inside the car. The shades of red and yellow dominate the picture. This is a mere indication of how brilliantly Saul has played with colors inside a frame. The balance he maintains is phenomenal and the pitch within red is grand in every aspect.
© Saul Leiter
#19 Pavement mirror shop by Raghubir Singh
Raghubir Singh is the frontrunner and pioneer in regards to color photography in India. His street photographs are built with ultimate layers of lives and characters interconnecting to each other. In this picture he has captured the true essence of a market scene, lives reflecting on the mirrors and the tinge of red on the surface gives a beautiful feel to this picture. Numerous object cluttered and the faces of people show the diversity India has to offer.
© Raghubir Singh
#20 Divided Soul by David Alan Harvey
To finish with a masterpiece from David Alan Harvey. Brilliantly lit subject is seen sitting against the wall where the photographer has visualized it from an altitude makes all the difference. There may not be any drama or a factor of interest if shot this from an eye-level, it shows the vision of the photographer. A Brilliant minimal composition surrounded by utter darkness. Adding to that his choice of composition to have it on the screen left creates more interestingness to the picture.
© David Alan Harvey / Magnum Photos
#21 Boy Mid Flight by Steve McCurry
Often speaking about the decisive moment, how frequently do we encounter a shot like this. Steve McCurry has arguably showed India most beautifully than any other photographer. In this particular picture, the narrow lane in Rajasthan adds a commanding impression for which Steve had to wait to get the right subject at the right time. Patience did pay off, the boy in mid-air. The Hand-prints on the wall, mustard yellow and blue walls with a unique composition add more drama and aesthetic appeal to the picture. In the beginning, this picture shows some kind of hindrance, as if the kid jumps through all of it for the space provided is minimum. But it actually doubles the joy it could provide for the art of photography. A Brilliant composition with the right subject in the right place at the right moment.
© Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos
#22 Xhosa Youth by James Nachtwey
Often known for his War Photographs, James Nachtwey here shows us his brilliance yet again in a wonderful portrait of two youth of Xhosa. The theme seems to be amazing and the photographers’ vision is very much broad for his choice of composition. Perfectly poised and placed subjects spread across the frame adds beauty to the picture. If you could get the fact about visual balance in shapes and forms, it becomes very easy to appreciate the resting hand on the frame right. Again the clouds, on the contrary, gets the picture to rest with subtle blue sky making it a winner. Looking at the subjects here, they seem to be covered with their traditional mud which adds some kind of a mystery to the photograph.
© James Nachtwey
#23 Kumbh Mela, Allahabad by Raghu Rai
Believe me, shooting a portrait in a crowd is one of the haunting tasks for any street photographer. And to get eye contact, either you must be talented or gifted favoring luck in your way. Here renowned master photographer Raghu Rai plays a gentle task in shooting this portrait in one of the densest places in the world, Kumbh Mela. The Vibrant Yellow shades all over with a touch of red here and there plus a brilliant face to make you hooked to the eyes makes it a brilliant capture. The Composition is simply astounding with the wood clearly marking a rule of third. The place seems to be silent yet the subject seems to be totally detached from the scene happening around. Brilliance everywhere inside the frame.
© Raghu Rai / Magnum Photos
#24 Border Crossing by Alex Webb
Crossing a countries border, I am not particularly sure about the nature of these men crossing, it could either be a sad ending or a happy beginning. Looking at this picture with a perfect sunset, fading light and the actions they perceive while checking for arms, it translates a fantastic feel for me. It almost feels tragic but at the same time the eyes of the second character seem arrested somewhere distant virtually meaning more tales to be said and more life to be lived. Aesthetically this is one of the prime pictures of Alex Webb, the yellow flowers and the chopper in the distant transfers us to a wonderful land far far away but the actions happening in the middle conveys a definite story bringing us back to reality. Brilliance overall and one of my favorite pictures from the Master.
© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos
#25 Orphan Chimpanzees by Steve Bloom
Steve Bloom, known for his grand book “Spirit of the Wild” shows us a wonderful capture of these chimpanzees. Serious photography lovers will never find humor in this picture, believe me, there is so much of strong emotion in this picture. The gloomy mood overall. The strong eye contact with the older chimp with other creatures around it adds the perfect balance to the composition as well as adds more sharpness to the picture. The poses of them, red eyes and the screen right’s angular look adds more brilliance here. The background looks clean green complimenting the red eyes of these amazing creatures.
© Steve Bloom
#26 Photo by William Albert Allard
Emotions all over the frame. The direction of vision is very much parallel to the horses and the kid. The Nostrils of horses with the eyes of the kid adds a wonderful symmetry to the existing scene with a horizontal plane dividing them through the bars. A simple picture but yet full of geometries and emotions.
© William Albert Allard
#27 A boy plays in the Riviere of Galets by Bruno Barbey
When we speak about showing the unseen, this picture from Bruno Barbey is one heck of an example. Excellent contrast here, for a boy cycling inside water. It almost becomes impossible for us to forget this picture for the surprise it has produced. Aesthetically, the geometry of wheels goes majestic to the shape of the boy and the vehicle. An excellent as well as a strange scene which is very lively and unforgettable.
© Bruno Barbey / Magnum Photos
#28 Triplet Policemen, New Jersey by Michael S. Yamashita
Looks like Visual Effects? But no, this picture shows a rare encounter with Triplet Policemen of New Jersey. Michael has captured them brilliantly showing their workspace, placed inside a cop van. The Light seems to be brilliant for the highlights on three of them, with the poses actually complimenting each other. Again aesthetically, the lights on the van blue and red bring more vibrancy and liveliness to the picture. A Different Portrait from Michael.
© Michael S. Yamashita / National Geographic
#29 Rosa, Last of the Yaghan Indians by Sam Abell
To finish with, a stunning portrait work from Sam Abell. The Light, Composition, Character, Moment everything seems to align well with the word Brilliance. The Color of Light and the clothing bring a sudden gloominess into the frame. The Smoke fuming on the frame adds a wonderful mystery to the scene portraying the mood of the character much better. The woman’s gaze outside the window with the hand posture is a wonderful touch to the existing masterpiece.
© Sam Abell
#30 The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier Bresson
The first one from the great master himself, one of the finest street photographs you could find. This Picture here is an ultimate example of what was later pronounced as the decisive moment. Henri-Cartier was possessed with this specific habit of shooting photographs with a great sense of timing. And in this particular photograph, as we could see the timing was immaculate, the gracious second before his boot touches the water, and the balance is right at the screen left. A girl in the poster stretching her legs from her right to left, fantastic juxtaposition and the luckiest composition one could dream of. The silhouette of the character adds more merry and curiosity to the picture itself.
© Henri Cartier Bresson / Magnum Photos
#31 Churchgate Train Station by Sebastiao Salgado
One of the earliest works of Sebastiao Salgado. This picture of the Mumbai Churchgate station is a typical example explaining the population density is one of the busiest cities in the world. The number of jobs and employment it could offer and numerous lives who are attached and strung to city life. This rush hour has been beautifully captured by a slow shutter either intentionally or the other way but the photographer has a great eye for detailing and wonderful composition highlighting the Wills ad board. The Flow is perfect and makes us understand the chaos and unsettling life, a city could bring in.
© Sebastiao Salgado
#32 Lunch Atop a Skyscraper by Charles C.Ebbets
Shot by Charles C.Ebbets. Who was only credited for this photograph during 2003. This Picture has been claimed to have shot during the great depression 1932. A very strange photograph showing some 11 construction workers sitting on a piece of column hanging in some altitude. The amount of risk involved and their will to take up any job coming their way is exquisitely photographed by Charles. Light and Composition is more than perfect providing an intense comparison towards the height these guys are located at. A wonderful photograph which we could hardly take it out of our memories.
© Charles C.Ebbets
#33 Mahatma Gandhi by Margaret Bourke
One of the most famous and iconic photographs of M.K.Gandhi shot at his own ashram. Margaret Bourke is the Photographer who has shot this priceless picture. This picture shows various elements which have been very close to the life of this great man, the spinning wheel, his costume, the books, and the reading glass, all of them constitute a beautiful story and represent his stature as a fighter with a strong will. His posture and the priceless window light just adds great mood to the study room and absolutely to the photograph.
© Margaret Bourke
#34 Grand Central Station by Hal Morey
This Stunning picture full of glory and light was taken by Hal Morey 1929. As a photographer, it just makes you in awe for the number of surprises this picture has got to offer even after all these years. The grading and excellent placement of characters, interesting costumes, hats and what more one could ask for. The composition is picture perfect and the wonderful variations between light and shadows increase my respect towards this spectacular capture.
© Hal Morey
#35 Mother Teresa by Raghu Rai
Some Phenomenal Portrait work by Raghu Rai. Speaking about portraits, the height and respect of the character grow wider and deeper with due respect to the mood perceived and nobility of someone who is about to be shown in the picture. This picture crosses all these hurdles of choosing the right character, Raghu Rai is blessed by Mother Teresa to have shot one of the most iconic portraits. The Posture, her prayers, those wrinkles drenched deep in some valuable thoughts and sacred ideologies. So much to be related and to be spoken about the closed eyes. An Interesting and everlasting portrait which will stay there forever.
© Raghu Rai
#36 Widow, Vrindavan by Steve McCurry
One of the famous photographs of the most famous photographer Steve McCurry. This picture shows an old-lady walking despite her old age, inability against strong will amidst a wall filled with interesting shapes and a creature too.
So much of complexity in the scene itself, and Steve has nailed it to perfection, the textures on the wall go well with the bold and a handsome bull standing by. The Wheel somehow wants me to relate to life as it goes on, and then the stubborn old lady wins it all with her walking stick. There can’t be a better subject to make this picture as lively as it is. Needless to say about the composition the other wheel at screen left just adds more grace to the picture.
© Steve McCurry
#37 Salvador Dali by Philippe Halsman
One Stunning picture which could make us wonder about the making of it straightaway. Having Salvador Dali in it makes it more special, Yes the picture taken by Philippe Halsman by some Mastercraft composition and pre-visualization is still quite a capture. It is recorded that there have been 28 attempts to this particular photograph and the least to mention about 84 cats been thrown too. The Composition is majestic and makes us wonder about Phillipe’s thought process behind this photograph.
© Philippe Halsman
#38 Elephants by Nick Brandt
One of the grand artworks from Nick Brandt, a grand nature photographer who had shown the other way of shooting wild during his times and still. There are more than a dozen pictures that are absolutely stunning to start our analysis with, this particular picture shows us such elegance and royalness at the same time against the desert storm, their ability to stand interestingly poised from screen left and spread across a wide field. This picture is sheer class and believes me it starts to grow on you when you start staring at it for more than a second with your eyes placed on the very fourth elephant.
© Nick Brandt
#40 Photo by Saul Leiter
One final picture of this series to be finished with Saul Leiter. One Photographer, who has been known for his splendid color works, arguably surpasses with this monochrome picture. A huge amount of questions arise with this picture, a lot to be answered, a deep blank black space unanswered and a man without an identity. This is pure art with elegance covered all over the frame, be it the distant signal tower or those quiet figures walking in the snow. This is beauty and art explained.
© Saul Leiter
Why Try Fun Photo Quiz
Were you inspired by the most iconic photos? Why not make a great activity using similar photos? You can make your next quiz more interesting and more fun by adding a fun quiz with photos. These days, many of us don’t have a lot of time to sit in a classroom since we often have more fun in front of a computer. Fortunately, there are many great ways that you can bring your quizzes into the 21st century.
Here are some ideas for adding a photo quiz to your next party.
- One way is to have a fun quiz where the person answering is going to be asked to guess what they’re looking at on the screen. When they guess the right answer, the photo will pop up and the name of the person who they guessed will show up in bold.
- This works well when you want to quiz a large group of people. But, take note, that this might not be very exciting for everyone.
- A fun idea that you can use is to have a photo quiz where the person who’s answering will be asked to answer one question and then click on the corresponding picture. They’ll be shown a photograph and have to tell the name of the person in the photograph, along with the city or town where they live. This photo quiz is easier for the quizmaster to identify the correct answer.
Once you’ve decided how the quiz will work, you can begin thinking about what pictures to use. Fortunately, you can find plenty of fun questions and pictures online. Most of the pictures on these sites are taken by professional photographers, so they’re likely to be of high-quality.
Once you’ve found a few pictures, you can begin to research a few questions to include in your quiz. Once you have the questions and the pictures, you can now begin to research the answers to your quiz. You can use websites to find some interesting trivia answers for the quiz. You might also look for some books and magazines that offer interesting trivia for your quiz.
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