|There are hundreds of thousands of photographers and so it is a perfectly valid question to ask how the photographers on this site have been selected for inclusion. This site is developmental and so the criteria are evolving as content develops but I'll explain how it started.
- The selection of key reference resources
A basic core of major photographers was started using Lee D. Witkin and Barbara London (1979) 'The Photograph Collector’s Guide' (London: Secker and Warburg) as a basis for earlier photographers of note. For the nineteenth century photographers the website of Robert Leggat (www.rleggat.com) is very helpful. As I extended the work I went through a vast number of sources with the expensive reference work edited by Martin Marix Evans (1995) 'Contemporary Photographers' [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) providing in depth biographies. To ensure a reasonable coverage I also used Cornell Capa (ed.) (1984) 'The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography' (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book)
|Reference books on major photographers|
|Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition]|
|Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] |
Martin Marix Evans (Executive editor)
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|Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography|
|Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography |
Lynne Warren (Editor)
- Examination of standard histories
There are now many histories of photography and I consulted these including:
In the last decade a number of more comprehensive histories have come out including:
- Beaumont Newhall (1982) 'The History of Photography' [Fifth Edition]
- Ian Jeffrey Photography: A Concise History
-  - Naomi Rosenblum: A World History of Photography
-  - Michel Frizot (Editor); Albert, Pierre (Editor); & Harding, Colin (Editor), The New History of Photography, [Originally published in French but later translated.]
-  - Mary Warner Marien; Photography: A Cultural History
|Ian Jeffrey: Photography a Concise History|
|Photography: A Concise History |
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|Beaumont Newall: The History of Photography|
|History of Photography - Fifth Edition |
|Naomi Rosenblum: A World History of Photography|
|A World History of Photography |
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|Mary Warner Marien: Photography: A Cultural History|
|Photography: A Cultural History |
Mary Warner Marien
- Each book has it's own strengths and weaknesses - the Beaumont Newall has gone through multiple editions but over emphasizes the American photographer and is now rather old, the Ian Jeffrey book is better on the photographers from the UK and the monumental French The New History of Photography has a far wider coverage. The books by Naomi Rosenblum (1997), Michael Frizot (1999) and that by Mary Warner Marien (2003) include the latest research and trends and have broadened the coverage to include increasing numbers of photographers from outside Europe and America.
This site has actually been constructed using hundreds of sources and is developing quickly. Where there are specialized histories of war photography, fashion or architecture these have been particularly helpful.
- Photographic books of real worth
Most people know photographs through books but until recently the books themselves were not studied. Recently a number of lavish books have been produced that deal with this with high quality reproductions of the original pages accompanied with explanatory text. These books should be on the shelves of anybody with an interest in photography as essential reference works but also because they contain examples of the very best in book and graphic design incorporating photographs.
|Books on key photographic books and periodicals|
|The Photobook: A History. Volume 1 |
Martin Parr (Text); & Gerry Badger (Text)
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|The Photobook: A History - Volume 2 |
Martin Parr (Author); & Gerry Badger (Author)
|Fotografia Publica: Photography in Print 1919-1939 |
Horacio Fernandez (Editor)
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|Book of 101 Books, The: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century |
Andrew Roth (Editor); Vince Aletti; Richard Benson; Jeffrey Fraenkel (Contributor); & Daido Moriyama (Contributor)
There can never be a perfect listing but this site will do what it can to be inclusive of real talent and historical significance.
- Seeking out under-represented themes
Key resources such as the Getty ULAN and Grove Art Online concentrate on photographers who are regarded as artists and there is nothing wrong with this. This does however mean that certain sectors most notably photojournalism, war, scientific, wildlife, advertizing and commercial photography tend to be under-represented. To a certain extent this is sensible as it takes time to establish who are the truly outstanding photographers of any period. It is frequently posthumous exhibitions that bring together a lifes work in a coherent form that allows judgements to be made and for people to be accepted into 'the history' of photography. This site examines some of the themes and seeks to include photographers that I think will become part of the canon. I may be wrong but that is life - and to a certain extent I can hedge my bets by using more recent histories of specific themes to ease my selections.
Where a photographer has two or more monographs relating to their work I try to consider them for inclusion in areas where the themes need bolstering and this rule can be relaxed where a volume appears that I regard as so extraordinary that I feel it deserves further attention.
- Seeking out the latest talent
The most difficult area is to seek out up and coming talent from around the world. To keep up with this I examine major journals such as Aperture, Eyemazing, Lenswork and the volumes of 21ST: Publishers of Fine Art Photography Books. I also work in collaboration with certain magazines to share content on emerging photographers.
I regularly examine exhibitions held at major institutions and approximately 300 commercial photographic and commercial art galleries around the world and follow up on Internet sites that show real talent.
- Advice from experts
Since this website became public in early December 2005 hundreds of experts from around the world have become involved and I seek their advice on who should be added in. As the site expands regional advisory groups will be established to ensure that 19th century regional photographers with significant bodies of work are added in and the listings of contemporary photographers are supplemented.
I also check the sites and work in conjunction with most of the photography dealers and a number of significant collectors around the world. I'm constantly looking for obscure photographers with neglected bodies of work and seek to include them wherever possible and sufficient information can be found.
At this point you may well say "How come I'm not included?" - and the answer is I may not have heard about you or have come across your work. If I come across a website, book or exhibition of significant and original work I'll be sure to include it. Please note that not all photographers will be included. If you have material that you wish to send through for possible inclusion I've put a note on the Contact us page.