Best of British: 22 of the most famous photographers from Great Britain

Queen Elizabeth II, Cecil Beaton

This Tuesday is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating 60 years of the reign of the Queen of England. So sit down and have a nice cup of tea (perhaps with a crumpet) because to celebrate this, we’ve decided to take a look at the most influential and famous photographers to come out of Great Britain.

Angus McBean

1904 – 1990

Angus McBean was a Welsh photographer who enjoyed surrealist photography and was one of the most influential and famous portrait photographers of the 20th century. He is particularly well known for his work photographing Vivien Leigh and the The Beatles’ first album cover. Not many photographers can add that claim to their name! McBean also took portraits of other high-profile celebrities of his time including Agatha Christie, Audrey Hepburn and Noel Coward.

View a selection of his work via

© Angus McBean

Bert Hardy

1913 – 1995

Bert Hardy is most famous for his work for Picture Post magazine during the 1940s and 1950s in which he documented the London Blitz and post-war Britain.

Hardy was certainly no stranger to war zones, serving in the Army Film and Photographic Unit (AFPU) during World War II and participating in the D-Day landings of June 1944. He went on to photograph the Korean and Vietnam wars for Picture Post before becoming one of the most successful advertising and commercial photographers after the magazine closed.

View a selection of his work at

Bert Hardy

© Bert Hardy

Cecil Beaton

1904 – 1980

Cecil Beaton began working regularly as a fashion photographer for Vogue in 1927. He is most famous for fashion photography and society portraits. As well as photographing Hollywood celebrities (including Marilyn Monroe), Beaton has been the official photographer for the Royal Family. Apparently the Queen Mother was his favourite Royal sitter.

View a selection of his work at

Cecil Beaton

© Cecil Beaton

Chris Killip

1946 –

Chris Killip began his career in photography as a photographer’s assistant, but left to focus on non-commercial work and returned to the Isle of Man (where he was born) to photograph it extensively. After bringing out a book, he was commissioned to shoot towns in Northern England and became known for his gritty black and white images. From these commissions, Killip showcased his work in In Flagrante, which have since been recognized as some of the most important visual records of life in 1980s Britain. He has since left the UK and is currently Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at the prestigious Harvard University.

By Chris Killip

© Chris Killip

Corinne Day

1962 – 2010

Corinne Day was a fashion and documentary photographer acclaimed for bringing a ‘hard-edged’ documentary look to fashion photography and was at the forefront of the ‘grunge’ style in the 1990s. Corinne sadly passed away from a brain tumour last year.

Corinne Day

© Corinne Day

David Bailey


David Bailey was a fashion photographer for Vogue magazine in 1960. As a result of this he helped to drive the iconic ‘Swinging London’ scene of the 1960s, and became regarded as one of Britain’s best photographers. Groovy.


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