Famous Photographers With Their Most Iconic Images

Posted filed under Books, Media, Photography.


Nice gallery with a background story worthwhile reading over at Rawfile: “The Tank Man of Tienanmen Square. Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston in victory. The portrait of the Afghan Girl on the cover of National Geographic. Many of us can automatically recall these photos in our heads, but far fewer can name the photographers who took them. Even fewer know what those photographers look like.

Tim Mantoani hopes to change that by taking portraits of famous photographers holding their most iconic or favorite photos in his new book Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends. Mantoani has shot over 150 of these portraits in the last five years, most of which are contained in the book.

“I felt like there was kind of this void,” says Mantoani. “There were all these anonymous photographers out there who have not been given enough credit.”

At a time when everyone has a camera in their pocket and millions, if not billions of photos are flying around the internet each day, Mantoani wants to help people understand that iconic photos don’t just happen. They are the product of people who devote their entire lives to photography. Giving these people a face, he says, helps do that.

“It was important to step back and understand that cameras didn’t make these photos, photographers made these photos,” he says. “Without these people and their understanding of photography, these moments would not be there for us to understand and appreciate over the course of time.”


Harry Benson: “Brian Epstein — Beatles’ manager — had just told them they were number one in America, and I was coming with them to New York, 1964.”
Photo: Tim Mantoani

Mantoani, a San Diego-based commercial and editorial photographer who is well known for his portrait work, decided to challenge his own craftsmanship by shooting the portraits on the enormous 20×24 Polaroid format. Only a few 20×24 Polaroid cameras still exist, and the film can be prohibitively expensive — about $200 per shot.

Over the course of the project, some of the photographers who participated passed away. Polaroid went belly up, making 20×24 film that much harder to come by. The weight of each photo’s importance as a historic document became more apparent with each loss.

“We have come to a point in history where we are losing both photographic recording mediums and iconic photographers,” Mantoani says.

Read on at Rawfile.

Image above: Neil Leifer holds his photo, Ali vs. Liston, which he took on May 25, 1965 in Lewiston, Maine. Photo: Tim Mantoani

BOOK: Behind Photographs: Archiving Photographic Legends – The book was funded via Kickstarter by the way.