25 Captivating Photographers Whose Work You Need In Your Life

Discover some of the most exciting and thought-provoking image makers right now.

September 29, 2016

Compelling photography is very important to us at The FADER. Below is a list of 25 photographers who we've been following for quite some time, have shot for The FADER, and others who we just discovered. From fashion and editorial to documentary work, we've gathered some of our favorite picks.

1. Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.

Elliott is a recent grad from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. His work, reminiscent of Deana Lawson, speaks about black queer bodies. Through intimately staged photographs, he questions preconceived notions of maleness and blackness. Elliott's photos weave throughout public and private spaces.

For more of Elliott's work, follow his Instagram.

2. Eva O’Leary

Eva is currently based in New York after having received her MFA from Yale in May 2016. The backdrop for her photographs is most often the American Midwest. She captures the strangeness, artifice, and identities of America while managing to make really beautiful photographs. The uncanny and surreal nature of her images is what makes them so appealing.

For more of Eva's work, follow her Instagram.

3. Elle Peréz

Hailing from the Bronx, Elle's photographs question what "truth" really means. Community plays a large role in their work, which was apparent in their series of underground wrestlers in The Bronx and Baltimore's Euphoria Latinx party. Creating narratives to explore sexuality, relationships, and queerness is at the crux of Elle's images.

For more of Elle's work, follow their Instagram.

4. Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Several tight crops of individual images show up throughout Sepuya's photographs. Photos from his series Figures, Grounds and Studies, examine memory, history, and space. Some of his images feel like self portraits, with the camera and tripod's reflection in a mirror, although Paul himself is not present. Complexly laid out, we find ourselves asking questions about queer and black identities, photography and muses when looking at his work.

For more of Paul's work, follow his Instagram.

5. Rose Marie Cromwell

In Rose Marie's El Libro Supremo de la Suerte, meaning The Supreme Book of Luck, we are onlookers into several strange vignettes that make up a larger story, set in Havana. Most of Cromwell's images have a narrative quality to them — the viewer is usually taken on a journey when looking through her work. She's currently based in Miami, and you will often find her in Cuba or Panama making photos. See her photos of Empress of for The FADER.

For more of Rose's work, follow her Instagram.

6. Gregory Halpern

ZZYZX, the title of Halpern's most recent book is also the name of a town in California, where he made many of the photographs for it. His photographic journey also included the desert east of Los Angeles all the way to the Pacific. These images are a study of a place that has been forgotten or lost. We see pain, destruction, and beauty alongside more quiet moments as we move through his lens of this place.

For more of Gregory's work, follow his Instagram.

7. Letha Wilson

Unlike traditional photography, Letha rips, cuts, and crumples her prints to turn them into something more sculptural. Photographing mostly the landscape of the American West, her prints are nestled between thick pours of concrete, allowing us to ponder the sublimity of the wilderness.

For more of Letha's work, follow her Instagram.

8. Renata Raksha

Shooter of both Rihanna's cover story and more recently Charli XCX, Raksha is quirky in the best way. Plastic, metallic, rubber, and other shiny surfaces always play a role in her vibrant photographs.

For more of Renata's work, follow her Instagram.

9. Jonnie Chambers

Muscles, sex, cars, and fashion are what you'll find scrolling through Jonnie's website. While some of his photos air on the humorous side, others feel more serious. With punchy, bright pastel colors, his photos create curious narratives.

For more of Jonnie's work, follow his Instagram.

10. Viviane Sassen

Sassen is a long time favorite. Her photos are packed with intense shadows and deep, rich color. Through playful and gestural poses of her subjects, you can tell Sassen is someone who appreciates beauty. She's able to move between the worlds of fashion, fine art and editorial seamlessly. Dutch born, she's currently living in Amsterdam. See some of her contributions to Frank Ocean's Magazine, Boys Don't Cry.

11. Cait Oppermann

In her most recent series, Set Piece, Oppermann traveled the U.S. shooting the National Women's Soccer League. The result is beautifully graphic photos depicting the hard work that is put into being a professional athlete. Cait took a quick break from the project this past August to head down to Florida and spend some time with Joanne the Scammer for The FADER. Learn more about Cait from our studio visit with her.

For more of Cait's work, follow her Instagram.

12. Harley Weir

Sensual, sexy, and youthful is usually how we find Weir's subjects in her photos. We are left wanting to know more when looking at her portraits. Weir is another contributor to Boys Don't Cry. Last year she shot Young Thug for Dazed.

For more of Harley's work, follow her Instagram.

13. John Edmonds

Edmonds most recent body of work, Friends and Lovers, talks about love, intimacy, and relationships. "I think that it is impossible, especially today, to talk about intimacy and relationships without also acknowledging that in order to get close to anyone or anything, you have to get closer to yourself," Edmond wrote in his artist statement for this body of work. You can see his exhibition Friends and Lovers at Deli Gallery until October 9. Another recent series questions preconceived notions about black men.

For more of John's work, follow his Instagram.

14. Pacifico Silano

A large part of Pacifico's art practice is carving out space for the gay experience by making sure there is not an erasure of that culture. Through his appropriation of 1970's and 80's gay personal ads, porno magazines, and gay paraphernalia, he memorializes these men, many of whom have died of AIDS. This photo is from a recent book titled Tear Sheets.

For more of Pacifico's work, follow his Instagram.

15. Stacy Kranitz

After spending six years living in the Appalachian Mountains of North America, Kranitz has created Speak Your Piece, a book documenting the people, places, and things, alongside text from residents, of this location. We see everything from poverty, addiction, and loneliness to tenderness and love through getting to learn about the relationships these people have to their community. A thorough storyteller, Kranitz, is deeply committed to the investigation of a place, the land, and the people who inhabit it.

For more of Stacy's work, follow her Instagram.

16. Hana Knizova

Sensual and confrontational are two words to describe Hana's work. Most of her subjects are women who consistently hold the viewer's gaze. She weaves through fashion, documentary, and editorial seamlessly.

For more of Hana's work, follow her Instagram.

17. Anais Boileau

Based in the South of France, Boileau's playful and bright images from her series Plein Soliel, show women lounging in the sun. There is a real playfulness, and sometimes humorous, quality to her work.

For more of Anais's work, follow her Instagram.

18. Devin N. Morris

This photo from the series, Stepping Out, brings black queer men into an ethereally staged environment in which they are dressed up as parental figures. "In addition to referencing the many traditions of dress that surround death and celebration within the black community, I'm also able to create dialogues that address queer identity and the imposed boundaries of masculinity," Morris said about the project. He also runs 3dotzine, an annual publication and forum to center and elaborate on marginalized concerns.

For more of Devin's work, follow his Instagram.

19. Whitney Hubbs

Hubbs photos from her series Body Doubles is somewhat of a love letter to the female form. Historically, women have played muse to the male artist. In this case, rather than looking at these images through the male gaze, we are seeing them as a study of gestures and poses and are denied the identity of the sitter. Whitney disassembles the body, isolating certain parts to be photographed while stripping away the controlled environment of the studio and exposing us to the frame outside of the frame.

For more of Whitney's work, follow her Instagram.

20. Andre Wagner

Current day Helen Levitt mixed with with a bit of Winogrand, Wagner is a true documentarian of the street. He is able to capture intimate and tender moments of everyday life. Currently based in New York by way of Omaha, his work has been featured in the New York Times, Spook, and VSCO.

For more of Andre's work, follow his Instagram.

21. Aso Mohammadi

Kurdish-Iranian born and currently living in Switzerland, Aso makes vibrant colorful photos that have a layered quality to them. Manipulated in photoshop, Mohammadi creates a space you feel like you could enter. Through his use of beautifully patterned material and family members, he explores his cultural identity while making exciting photos to look at.

For more of Aso's work, follow his Instagram.

22. Deana Lawson

Lawson's intimately staged photographs of strangers speak to family, desire, love, and beauty. She's shot all over from Brooklyn to Haiti. Read about her cover for Blood Orange's Freetown Sound.

23. Res

This photograph is from a recent series titled Thicker Than Water, in which Res has photographed their father. These images were an attempt at getting closer and being able to learn more about each other. The result is a really intimate and tender portrait. Res is in their second year of the MFA program at Yale.

For more of Res's work, follow their Instagram.

24. Yael Eban

Tzabar, the Hebrew word for cactus, doubles as slang for an Israeli: overtly tough yet tender underneath. This image is from the series Tzabar, in which Eban explores her experience of this place she calls home, Israel, while simultaneously feeling alien to the country. These photographs travel the land through a familiar lens while still leaving space to discover it.

For more of Yael's work, follow her Instagram.

25. Nakeya Brown

Originally from California, Nakeya recently finished the MFA program at George Washington University in D.C. Her photographs, which typically draw attention to beauty rituals, specifically involving hair, speak to the politics and identity surrounding black women. Brown currently has a show up at D.C. Arts Center until October 16.

For more of Nakeya's work, follow her Instagram.