So you want to be a famous photographer…


Becoming Famous – Recently a new seller on Fine Art America asked how they could become a famous photographer. They had to desire to become a famous photographer and simply wanted someone to tell they how.

Is there some formula for becoming famous? Does fame only require a desire? How many photographers are famous to begin with? I wonder if the average person can even name any famous photographers past Ansel Adams?

Famous photographers became famous either by the subjects they photographed such as the amazing celebrity portraits by Annie Leibovitz or Richard Avedon.  Or creating masterful landscapes of the American West like Ansel Adams or exploring the role of women in society through self portraits like Cindy Sherman or family dynamics and relationships like Sally Mann, who also creates incredibly unique landscapes using cameras and techniques from the Civil War era.

Or one of my favorite photographers of all time Diane Arbus who documented the fringes of society, midgets, circus performers, strippers, nudists and others who tend to stay in the shadows of society.

Fame as a photographer is not about having the best equipment or the latest camera gear. It is certainly not about taking photographs on vacation or of your cat. Famous photographers become famous because they have a unique vision and great ideas.

The ideas behind the images are more important that the equipment or even how many photographs sell.

To garner fame as a photographer, your best bet is to come up with an intriguing subject matter to explore. Create a series and body of work around that subject/topic. Create enough for a book and touring exhibit.

Get noticed for your unique and compelling ideas.  It’s is the subject, topic and concepts that will get noticed, not the sharpness of your lens or the saturation of your colors. Famous photographers become famous by presenting a unique view of the world and creating compelling stories to share.

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