An updated list of some of the most influential photographers in Asia that we published last year. The 20 names here-in are contributed by the IPA community via an informal poll and post, and serve as a reference to prominent names in Asian photography. By no means is this list complete and exhaustive as it currently is. We hope to add more names as we progress – as a celebration of photography in our part of the great big world.
Which other Asian photographers do you think has been influential, perhaps even in your country or local community? Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.
1. Daido Moriyama, Japan
Probably the most referenced name from Asia when it comes to contemporary street photography all over the world.
2. Nobuyoshi Araki, Japan
Master of Eroticism and considered one of the most prolific artists alive or dead in Japan.
3. Raghu Rai, India
Protégé of Henri Cartier-Bresson and one of the very few Asian names on the Magnum Photo Agency roster. Rai has documented the changing socialscape and history of India for over 4 decades, from the Sadhus of Kumbh Mela to Mrs Gandhi and Mother Teresa to the victims of Bhopal. Read our exclusive 3 PART interview with Raghu Rai here: Invisible Interview: Raghu Rai
4. Chien-Chi Chang, Taiwan
Another of the very few Asian names on the Magnum Photo Agency roster, best known for The Chain, his portrait work of inmates at the Long Fa Tang in Taiwan.
5. Eikoh Hosoe, Japan
Best known for his psychologically charged images exploring death, erotic obsession, and irrationality during of post-World War II Japan. During his early days in photography, Daido Moriyama assisted Eikoh.
6. Raghubir Singh, India
India’s pioneer and master of color photography and best known for his vivid, complexly layered photographs of his home country. Read more on Raghubir Singh here: Raghubir Singh and the Importance of Identity.
7. Lu Nan, China
Lu Nan is acclaimed for his documentary on patients at mental hospitals and Catholicism in China, and peasant life in Tibet. His photographs were previously distributed by Magnum Agency.
8. Nick Ut, Vietnam
Born in Long An, Viet Nam, Nick Ut photographed what most would argue the single, most iconic image of the tragedies suffered during the Vietnam War.
9. Rinko Kawauchi, Japan
Best known for serene and poetic photographs depicting the ordinary moments in life, Rinko is one of very few celebrated female photographers in Asia.
10. Dayanita Singh, India
Best known for her portraits of India’s urban middle and upper-class families, Dayanita describes herself as a ‘bookmaker working with Photography’.
11. Lu Guang, China
One of China’s most regarded documentary photographers today, Lu Guang focuses on contemporary social and economic issues in China, notably the country’s industrialization and pollution.
12. Tay Kay Chin, Singapore
Singapore’s most respected practitioner, educator and mentor in photojournalism and documentary photography. Kay Chin is best known for his award-winning panoramic documentary of Singapore and his evangelism at PLATFORM, a Singapore photography group he co-founded. Read our exclusive interview with Kay Chin here: Invisible Interview & Photo Essay: Tay Kay Chin.
13. Oscar Motuloh, Indonesia
One of Indonesia’s most renowned photojournalists and founder of Antara Gallery for Photojournalism (Galeri Foto Jurnalistik Antara), an organisation involved with curation, education and exhibition.
14. Shomei Tomatsu, Japan
Regarded by some as the man who changed Japanese photography forever, Shomei is part of the Post-War Japan generation of photographers alongside Eikoh Hosoe, photographing iconic images of change and flux in their country.
15. Ho Fan, Hong Kong
Probably Hong Kong’s most awarded photographer, with a masterful body of work in the classical street photography tradition. Check out Fan Ho’s Photo Essay on IPA: Ho Fan – A Hong Kong Legend Returns.
16. Takuma Nakahira, Japan
Friends with Shomei Tomatsu and Daido Moriyama, his photobook For a Language to Come (Kitarubeki kotoba no tame ni) has been described as “a masterpiece of reductionism.”
17. Shahidul Alam, Bangladesh
Godfather of photography in Bangladesh, Shahidul founded the highly regarded Drik Picture Agency and Chobi Mela, one of Asia’s premier photography festivals. He also founded Majority World, an initiative formed to provide a platform for indigenous photographers.
18. Erik Prasetya, Indonesia
Regarded as a peer to Oscar Motuloh, Erik Prasetya is best known for his improvisational street photography and documentary journal of Jakarta amassed over 15 years. Check out his Photo Essay feature on IPA: The Banal Aesthetics of Erik Prasetya’s JAKARTA
19. Chang Tsai, Taiwan
Chang Tsai is known as one of the ‘3 Swordsmen’ of Taiwanese Photography during the 1930s to 1950s. Tsai’s most famous quote: “I am not highly educated. I just use my camera to observe people and things. It doesn’t have to appear artistic.”
20. Alex Baluyut, Philippines
One of Philippines’ preeminent names in photojournalism, Alex is also a founding faculty member of the Diploma in Photojournalism programme at Ateneo de Manila University.
All photographs copyright their respective creators.