Once upon a time, if you wanted to follow a famous photographer then you had no choice but to wait for them to write a book, or scour newspapers, magazines and the TV listings for any brief mention of them.
In 2019, things couldn’t be more different. A quick click on Twitter and you can discover the intimate thoughts and feelings of many world-famous photographers, unmediated by any third party. And if you comment on something they’ve tweeted - in a respectful and relevant way, of course - there’s every chance they’ll respond.
That said, being mega-busy is pretty much in the job description of being a famous photographer. So many are either not on Twitter at all, haven’t posted in years, or simply use it to repost their Instagram posts.
In this post, then, we’ve brought together 20 Twitter accounts of famous photographers that are actually worth following, and explain what you’re likely to get from them.
#ShirleyManson, @garbage, 2002💁 #MalcolmEdwards💄 @lisabutlermua#polaroid pic.twitter.com/xNKVJ48mB1January 29, 2019
- Portrait and fashion photographer
- 155K followers
John Rankin Waddell, aka Rankin, is a British portrait and fashion photographer and director best known for his photography of models including Kate Moss, Alison Lomax and Heidi Klum, and celebrities such as Madonna, David Bowie and Queen Elizabeth II. In 1991, he also co-founded Dazed and Confused magazine with Jefferson Hack.
Rankin posts on Twitter once a day on average, and includes a lot of inspirational visual content, with most tweets coming with image or video attachments. An intoxicating mixture of archive photos and behind-the-scenes images from shoots make this a feed every photographer should subscribe to.
2. Bruce Gilden
To be a good photographer you don't have to be a genius. You have to persevere, know who you are, know what you want to say, and you have to be very critical of yourself and the others.https://t.co/InlwtFKJ89December 22, 2018
- Street photographer
- 55.7K followers
Bruce Gilden is one of the world’s most iconic and influential street photographers. Best known for his candid close-up photographs of New Yorkers, typically using a flashgun, he’s had a series of books published, won a slew of awards, and has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1998.
Gilden tweets a few times a month, and these are often retweets. He rarely strays outside of work topics, and basically uses his Twitter feed as a noticeboard to update fans about his books, courses and exhibitions.
Starlings in winter, in honor of Mary Oliver. “I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.” pic.twitter.com/IWfp9FXKs2January 27, 2019
- Art photographer
- 4,871 followers
Gregory Crewdson is a New York photographer best known for his cinematic, surreal and melancholic tableaux of small-town American homes and neighbourhoods. His work has been exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at Gagosian Gallery in New York, the San Diego Museum of Art, and White Cube in London.
Given his huge impact on the art photography world, it’s astonishing that he has relatively few Twitter followers. His feed is, admittedly, mostly retweets of other peoples' news, articles and events concerning Crewdson... but in a way that’s informative and helpful rather than vanity-driven.
4. Joe McNally
Snow squall in #TimesSquare last night turns The Big Apple into Blade Runner. Quick street shot as Times Square turned more beautiful and surreal than I have ever seen it. #Z7 #streetshot #snow #polarvortex #cold #nyc #newyorksnow @NikonUSA #nikonambassador pic.twitter.com/jMQClTyViVJanuary 31, 2019
- 288K followers
Based in Connecticut, Joe McNally has been a photographer for National Geographic since 1987 and his prolific career includes assignments in nearly 70 countries. He has also shot cover stories for Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, Geo, Fortune, Life and other titles; won four awards from World Press Photo; and even bridged the world between photojournalism and advertising, amassing commercial clients including FedEx, Sony, ESPN and Adidas.
Joe posts on Twitter around twice a day, and his tweets are rich with colourful and glorious photography. All in all, this feed is a visual treat that’s packed with inspiration, as well as keeping you informed about his books, blog posts, client work and other activities.
5. Nigel Barker
Simple, stunning, soft and sexy, I love this series of my favorite muses @ChinTwins #swipeleft what’s your favorite shot? #HappySaturday #Twins wearing Wolford xx pic.twitter.com/QbpJQol19fJanuary 12, 2019
- Fashion photographer and TV personality
- 169K followers
Former model Nigel Barker is a British fashion photographer and TV personality. Best known as a judge and photographer on the reality show America's Next Top Model, he is now the host of both 'The Face' and 'Top Photographer with Nigel Barker', one of our favourite TV shows about photographers.
Barker tweets a couple of times a day on average, and his tweets include announcements about his shows, courses, behind-the-scenes snippets, and lots of lovely photographs. A great Twitter feed for keeping up with one of the industry’s most interesting personalities.
6. Andy Gotts
#TBT The delicious #MirandaRichardson. Loved this shoot with Queenie, full of fun & vigour. This happened roughly 10 years ago, so this could be my #10YearChallenge. 10 years of trying to figure out the female mind. Should be closer to #100YearChallenge! #ShutUpNursie #AndyGotts pic.twitter.com/0CoWBnTjKXJanuary 31, 2019
- Portrait photographer
- 13.8K followers
Andy Gotts MBE is a British photographer based in London and New York who’s famed for his distinctive portraits of A-list celebrities. A former president of the British Institute of Professional Photographers and a recipient of the Fox Talbot Award, he was given an MBE by the Queen in 2012, and a selection of his works are held in the permanent collection of London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Gott’s Twitter feed is filled with just what his fans want to see: lots and lots of glorious portraits of his subjects, which at time of writing include Miranda Richardson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Richard E Grant, Olivia Coleman and more. A must-follower for any photographer interested in portraiture.
7. Pete Souza
Home alone pic.twitter.com/YR533fq9KzJanuary 15, 2019
- Photojournalist and documentary photographer
- 247K followers
Pete Souza is an American photojournalist who was the chief official White House photographer for Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In between these two periods, he worked as a photographer with The Chicago Tribune. In the last couple of years, he’s released two books, one based on his time with Obama, and the other juxtaposing the former with the Trump administration.
As you might expect, Souza’s Twitter feed is filled with his stridently partisan opinions on present-day American politics, so if that’s a subject that doesn’t interest you, then it’s best avoided. If it does, though, then it’s interesting to hear the views of someone who actually has experience of White House life... plus there are also some (occasional) tweets about photography as well.
Would you like me to review your best bird photos? I am looking for submissions of great images of birds to critique during my upcoming Creative Live course, "The Art of Photographing Birds.” Go here to upload your images: https://t.co/6d2nT98Gx8 pic.twitter.com/Xsg4MLYGRCJanuary 9, 2019
- Wildlife photographer
- 52.6K followers
Dutchman Frans Lanting is quite simply one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work, covering topics such as tribal traditions in Madagascar, conservation projects in Botswana and rainforest ecology in Borneo has appeared in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. He has also served as a photographer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.
Lanting's Twitter feed is a pretty straightforward noticeboard for announcements about his courses, media appearances and competitions he’s a judge for. All of which is accompanied by beautiful images and captivating videos, so even if you’re not interested in his news, the visual treasure trove this feed has to offer is well worth a follow.
Another gel image from my tour in China. Can you tell how much I love gels? :D https://t.co/UoCcJ3dIbq #gels #photography @CanonUSAimaging @profotousa pic.twitter.com/O5vAmSBWR4January 14, 2019
- Beauty and fashion photographer
- 62.7K followers
Based in New York, Lindsay Adler’s fashion and beauty photography has appeared in magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle Magazine, Harper's Bazaar and L'Officiel, and she's worked with brands including Canon, Adobe, NBC and Microsoft. As a photographic educator, she is also one of the most sought after speakers internationally, and has been named one of the top 10 best fashion photographers in the world.
Adler makes enthusiastic use of her Twitter account, tweeting regularly and interacting with her followers to a surprising level. With lots of stunning imagery too, hers is an excellent account to follow for anyone involved in the worlds of fashion and beauty photography.
10. Richard Bernabe
"A Silent Shade of Winter" Morning light on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Western Iceland #Iceland #photography pic.twitter.com/5vEvwTEOzyJanuary 31, 2019
- Nature, wildlife and travel photographer
- 1.03M followers
Richard A. Bernabe is an American photographer, teacher and author who specialises in nature, wildlife and travel photography. He’s visited more than 50 countries for clients including National Geographic, CNN, Time, The New York Times, Audubon and The BBC, and has spoken to groups around the world on the importance of wildlife conservation.
Another photographer who seems to enjoy interacting with and retweeting others on Twitter, Bernade’s feed is constantly updated with news of his activities, and packed full of colourful, epic and arresting wildlife photography. With over a million followers, it’s clear that his fans appreciate it.
11. Barbara Davidson
A little bit of sun peers out of the #LosAngeles sky after a rainy day. #PolarVortex2019 pic.twitter.com/DjILAWRXcvFebruary 1, 2019
- Photojournalist and commercial photographer
- 9,068 followers
Barbara Davidson is a three-time Pulitzer Prize and Emmy-winning photojournalist best known for her work on victims of gang violence in LA. She's honed her story-telling approach over two decades through multiple assignments across 52 countries; covering war, humanitarian crises and the human condition for the LA Times, the Dallas Morning News and the Washington Times.
As with Pete Souza (above), Davidson’s Twitter feed is heavy on American politics, and Davidson’s view thereof. But the odd tweet does slip through about her photography, and these are never less than insightful and inspirational.
12. Chase Jarvis
High again ✈️ Somewhere over California ☀️Just wow. Beauty is everywhere 😇 #nofilter #aerial #earth pic.twitter.com/OioiQb4CrqJanuary 28, 2019
- Photographer and CEO of CreativeLive
- 408K followers
Chase Jarvis is an American photographer, director and fine artist who aims to break down the barriers between new and traditional media, fine art and commercial art. He has won multiple awards and been described by PDN Magazine as one of the top 30 most influential photographers of the past decade. He’s also the founder of the online education platform CreativeLive.
Jarvis’s Twitter feed is largely a vehicle for promoting the former, with many inspirational quotes, tips and snippets of advice from various course leaders. Most of these are not directly related to photography but aimed at creatives in general. That said, they'll still be of interest to many photographers, particularly those aiming to become more creative, productive and/or entrepreneurial in their career.
13. Paul Nicklen
In August 2018, California senate passed a bill that bans the use of large scale driftnets or "deathnets" like this in their waters. Tip #11 in the #19for2019 campaign is to take action; support causes by making donations when you can and use your voice to spread awareness. pic.twitter.com/1l4Qxcoa3jJanuary 12, 2019
- National Geographic photographer
- 23.6K followers
Paul Nicklen is a Canadian photographer, film-maker and marine biologist with a strong interest in underwater photography and conservation issues. An assignment photographer for National Geographic magazine, he has won numerous awards from the likes of World Press Photo and BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Nicklen’s Twitter feed is less about photography itself and more about spreading the gospel of environmentalism; for example, he recently posted a series of “19 things that we can all do to help make this year the most successful year for our #oceans yet”. That said, each message is typically accompanied by colourful and compelling imagery, so there’s much visual inspiration here too.
14. Brian Smith
RIP Carol Channing. Photographed for Entertainment Weekly. pic.twitter.com/kETG2AqB7hJanuary 15, 2019
- Celebrity portrait photographer
- 10.8K followers
Brian Smith is an American portrait photographer whose portraits of actors, business leaders, politicians and athletes have been used in advertising, by corporations and in hundreds of magazines over the last 30 years. He has won countless awards from organisations such as Pulitzer, World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year.
As a Sony Artisan, Profoto Legend of Light and X-Rite Coloratti Master, Smith is one of the few on this list who actually posts about cameras and equipment. Some of this can look a little spammy, but if you are interested in staying on top of what’s on sale, and at what price, then to our minds, it’s better to get it from someone who knows what they’re talking about.
15. Scott Kelby
I have officially arrived in Canada!!! First stoop - Timmies!!! 🇨🇦 Next stop, Banff. 👍 pic.twitter.com/YdDuH7TjYyJanuary 22, 2019
- Photographer, trainer and TV presenter
- 339K followers
Scott Kelby is an American photographer, award-winning author, Photoshop instructor, and the CEO of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He’s also founder of the annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, the world’s largest social photography event.
Kelby's Twitter feed keeps you updated with all these varied activities in a workmanlike way, and overall his enthusiasm and obvious passion for teaching photography and sharing techniques comes through loud and clear.
16. Sim Chi Yin
Thank you curator @alikati @FramerFramed as our group show UnAuthorised Medium in Amsterdam closes. I’ll be doing a performative reading on my family history project in London this Fri https://t.co/78yVDlX9vp pic.twitter.com/r1o2FQ2Q1cNovember 21, 2018
- Photojournalist and artist
- 4,164 followers
Sim Chi Yin is a Singaporean photographer, based in Beijing, who works both as a photojournalist and on self-directed projects, which focus on history, memory, migration and its consequences. A nominee member of Magnum Photos, she has been awarded a Magnum Foundation Social Justice and Photography fellowship, as well as the Chris Hondros Award.
Yin’s Twitter feed is mainly made up of retweets, rather than her own thoughts. But they are invariably intelligent and thoughtfully chosen tweets, that serve as a great introduction to her photography worldview, and are typically accompanied by striking and thought-provoking images.
17. Benjamin Lowy
Cape Buffalo in the Mara. From our trip to Kenya with @marvilacar with @natgeowild Trying out the Cinemagraph format. #cinemagraph #maasaimara #capebuffalo @sonyalpha pic.twitter.com/zAJNPVGd1TJanuary 24, 2019
- 13.8K followers
Benjamin Lowy is an American photojournalist known for his work as a conflict photographer in war zones. His images of Iraq were chosen by PDN as some of the most iconic of the 21st century, and he has received awards from World Press Photo, POYi, Communication Arts and the Society for Publication Design.
His Twitter feed is regularly updated, largely with retweets. Many of these are about U.S. politics and social issues. But there are photography related posts too, so even if the former don’t interest you, they’re worth wading through to get to the latter.
18. Ami Vitale
I am honored and excited to have our film with the incredibly kind and talented @davematthewsbnd @ConservationOrg and @RetetiElephants screen at this year's @nyWILDfilmfest during Sunday's family program. Learn more & get tickets here: https://t.co/7qwDunYCiO pic.twitter.com/cNJWyx05PJJanuary 23, 2019
- 14.6K followers
As a contract photographer for National Geographic, American Ami Vitale has travelled to more than 100 countries, lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit, keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.” Winner of four World Press Photo awards, she is also a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, an organisation of female scientists and creatives.
Vitale’s regularly updated Twitter feed mostly focuses on conservation issues, a subject that she’s clearly very passionate about. And she sweetens the pill by accompanying these messages with top-class photography and video of wildlife from around the world.
19. Mark Power
While working on ‘Good Morning, America’ I made the mistake of binge-watching ‘Breaking Bad’. In its wake, making pictures in situations like this - a lonely trailer in rural Kentucky - became more fraught than they probably should have been. Anyway, it’s in the book. pic.twitter.com/bAD55uNa9AFebruary 1, 2019
- Magnum photographer
- 7,420 followers
British photographer and Magnum member Mark Power is famed for his primarily large-format film photography. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the world, and he has published eight books. He is also Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton.
Power’s Twitter feed is one long stream of big, beautiful photographs, currently from his latest book, 'Good Morning, America (Volume One)'. The odd comment about music, politics or Leicester City FC occasionally slips in too, but in general, it’s a glorious visual feast all the way.
From the importance of patience and persistence, to photographing people, @pvanagtmael offers advice and insights on a range of topics in The Art of Street Photography: https://t.co/2G7M0AtOY6 pic.twitter.com/G9hrULI9LUJanuary 16, 2019
- Documentary photographer
- 6,754 followers
Peter van Agtmael is an American documentary photographer and Magnum member based in New York. Since 2006 he's concentrated on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their consequences in the US. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, The New Yorker and The Guardian, and he's published three books. He's also twice won World Press Photo awards.
His Twitter feed is most made up of carefully curated retweets. These largely centre around photography training, Magnum announcements and issues surrounding refugees and migration.