In celebration of 50 years of Brig, this issue I decided to take a look at just a few of the names responsible for guiding photojournalism to where it is today.
There are countless people whose work has inspired thousands after them, our website hopes to showcase more of these talents over time. For now, here are four photojournalists that I feel revolutionised their industry.
Their work is responsible for drawing in more readers and immersing those readers further into the story itself.
Perhaps best known for her iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe, Eve Arnold’s work documented subjects that spanned from Jackie Kennedy to asylum patients in Haiti and American Nazi Party members watching Malcolm X speak in Chicago. Her work features scenes from America, Cuba, England, Afghanistan and South Africa just to name a few.
Born to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Arnold was raised in the US. Her passion for photography started with her job in a Kodak photo-finishing plant. From there, she studied photography at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan under the tutelage of Alexey Brodovitch, who was the art director for Harper’s Bazaar between 1934 and 1958.
In the seventies, Arnold found herself in England, where she worked for the London Sunday Times- a period in her career where she found reinvention in her craft through the use of colour.
Arnold’s work went on to be shown as part of various exhibitions, including one for the Museum of Modern Art, which garnered her a lot of attention. Her first solo exhibition came about in 1980 at the Brooklyn Museum, containing images from her time in China.
Over the span of her life, Arnold went on to accumulate a number of honours, such as the American Society of Magazine Photographers “Lifetime Achievement Award.” As well as earning herself the title of an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, Arnold was presented with an OBE just ten years later.
Sadly, Eve Arnold passed away at the age of 99 in 2012. Her work remains for the world to admire, a true source of inspiration for anyone who views it.
If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument
Smith’s work takes a very humanistic approach that depicts the emotional consequences of the scenes he captures. His black and white images present provocative pieces that once interpreted, leave the viewer’s left wondering what else there is to see. His work is as alluring as it is dark, capturing the essence of humanity in some harrowing and desolate situations.
His most notable work comes from his time spent during the Second World War, trailing American soldiers as they fought the Japanese, working for Ziff-Davis publishing, and later for Life. Whilst photographing the Battle of Okinawa, Smith fell victim to mortar and as a consequence, was severely injured. This led to him needing surgery for the two following years.
Smith’s work also took him to the UK, in which he photographed miners in Wales as part of Life’s anti-Labour stance, following Atlee’s marginally narrow win at the 1950 General Election.
Smith’s other notable work includes the documentation of Dr. Ernest Ceriani’s work in the rural town of Kremmling, Colorado. Over the course of a few weeks, Smith photographed Dr. Ceriani’s tireless rounds through the countryside, visiting patients’ homes.
During his prolific career, Smith worked for News-Week, Flying Magazine, LIFE and Magnum. He later died in Tucson, after teaching at the University of Arizona for a year.
The W. Eugene Smith Fund, founded in 1980, encourages his humanistic approaches in other photographers, by awarding them for any outstanding achievements in the area. In a 2017 piece in The Guardian, Sean O’Hagan defined W. Eugene Smith as “perhaps the single most important American photographer in the development of the editorial photo essay.”
A photo is a small voice, at best, but sometimes – just sometimes – one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness. Much depends upon the viewer; in some, photographs can summon enough emotion to be a catalyst to thought
Steve McCurry’s vibrant works demand your undivided attention. The bold colours of his pieces speak to the rich tapestry of cultures that he captures with his camera. His work exudes excitement and wonder of the world we too often glance over; forcing us to re-examine what we think we know.
Renowned for his work with the National Geographic, McCurry’s photographic career spawned from his role taking photos for the Penn State newspaper “The Daily Collegian,” from there he pursued his new-found passion further.
McCurry was soon travelling as a freelance photojournalist to India in 1978. From there he ventured north into Pakistan, before sneaking across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Disguised in Afghani dress, McCurry was soon documenting the war in Afghanistan, earning him a Robert Capa Gold Medal after his work was published in The New York Times.
Undeniably his most notable work, the “Afghan Girl”, shot in 1984, remains to this day, one of the National Geographic’s most celebrated published portraits. McCurry spoke about the photo, saying:
I noticed this one little girl with these incredible eyes, and I instantly knew that this was really the only picture I wanted to take.
The popularity of the image resurfaced almost two decades later when McCurry returned to the area and photographed the same woman in 2002.
McCurry’s well-deserved awards and achievements date back decades and span continents. His phenomenal work has cemented his name in the photography world, his work telling the stories that most could not even imagine. His photos take us behind the scenes of worlds we barely knew existed and breathes life into the one we live in.
London-.born Don McCullin got his start in the photography world when his pictures of his friends, who were part of a local gang, were published. From the back streets of London, he later went on to focus his attention on areas suffering from wars. His gritty style artfully is perfect for depicting the desolate reality of violence and its impact on the people around.
In 1953, McCullin was called to join the Royal Air Force in which he worked as a photographer’s assistant during the 1956 Suez Crisis. Despite applying for the job, McCullin failed the written theory test to become a photographer in the RAF and as a result, spent his most of his time in a dark room. For only 30 pounds, McCullin bought his first camera after being stationed in Nairobi.
In 1958, his photo of a local gang accused of murdering a police officer was published by The Observer and earned McCullin recognition. His overseas work for the Sunday Times Magazine is probably his most notable. In this time, he covered issues such as the African AIDS epidemic, the Vietnam War and the Northern Irish conflict to name a few.
McCullin has authored numerous books and had a documentary made about him. He has also been the recipient of several prestigious awards. He was the first photojournalist to be presented with a CBE and was recently knighted for his services to photography.