16 Famous Street Photographers You Should Follow in 2023

Discover the most creative, influential and famous street photographers from past and present in this definitive guide. Get inspired for your next street shoot.

Designed to candidly capture real moments in everyday life, street photography is a genre of photography that goes beyond chance encounters and passersby on the street.

For decades, photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz and Berenice Abbott have broken barriers in street photography, proving that this genre means more than simply photographing strangers in public places.

With compact cameras becoming more accessible by the 1920s, the fundamentals of photography began to change.

No longer shackled to their studio and heavy equipment, photographers could revel in the portable, compact cameras that enabled them to capture on-the-go and off-the-wall moments with ease.

In this article, we’ll discuss the pioneers of street photography and the influence they had on modern-day photographers.

So, let’s dive into the most famous street photographers you should follow in 2023.

Who Are The Most Famous Street Photographers in 2023?

1. Henri Cartier-Bresson


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Henri Cartier-Bresson (@_henricartierbresson) • Instagram photos and videos

Born in France in 1908, Henri Cartier-Bresson is renowned for his incredible photographs depicting France during World War II. There’s little doubt he’s among the top famous street photographers on earth.

His work has had a huge influence on urban photographers throughout the years.

After studying literature at the prestigious Cambridge University, Cartier-Bresson redirected his interest in writing toward taking photos.

With photography roots that trace all the way back to 1931, Cartier-Bresson began traveling and soon studied under one of the most respected photographers and filmmakers ever, Paul Strand.

Cartier-Bresson was soon drafted into a role as a photographer for the French Army, during which time he was seized by the Germans and held captive for three years.

After escaping German imprisonment, Cartier-Bresson began documenting the occupation and eventual liberation of France, making him a pivotal part of French history as well as the undeniable father of street photography.

Though he passed away in 2004, personal photos of Cartier-Bresson and his work can be seen on Instagram, proving this French photographer is one of the greatest artists of all time and a major influence on this art form today.

With a whopping 71k followers, Cartier Bresson’s legacy continues to carry on strongly.

2. Gulnara Samoilova

gulnara.samoilova instagram


A proud founder of the community known as Women Street Photographers, Gulnara Samoilova is a must-follow on Instagram.

Based in New York City, Samoilova is revered by fellow photographers for her profoundly poignant images documenting the attacks on the World Trade Center on the unforgettable day of September 11, 2001.

Working at the time as a photographer for the Associated Press, Samoilova’s bone-chilling images of the bombing of the twin towers, the victims, as well as the horrified onlookers won several awards and showcased the significance of street photography.

Today, you can see the September 11th images by way of her Insta account, which has these photos highlighted, or her website.

After this eventful project, Samoilova’s interest in photographing people in everyday life in and away from New York City grew tremendously — which shines through on her Instagram account.

If you scroll through Samoilova’s grid, you’ll see a beautiful mix of colorful and black-and-white photos highlighting a variety of cultures, religions and locations. Due to her works, many regard her as one of the best modern street photographers in the current generation.

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Still an avid traveler and active photographer, Samoilova continues to serve as an icon who greatly influenced street photography and can be counted among the many famous street photographers in the world.

3. Trent Parke


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Narelle Autio and Trent Parke (@chillioctopus) • Instagram photos and videos

Based in Adelaide, Australia, Trent Parke is easily one of the most famous street photographers of the modern era.

From humble beginnings using his mom’s camera and the laundry room to develop photos, Parke’s career as a photojournalist and street photographer was built on blood, sweat and tears.

From his shared Instagram account with his wife and fellow photographer and filmmaker, Narelle Autio, Parke’s grid is a beautiful blend of objective and abstract images.

You’ll scroll through a captivating collection of both colored and black-and-white photos that cover everything from the Aboriginal Outback in Western Australia to the beaches of Perth filled with pure, carefree fun in the sun.

Having traveled 90,000 kilometers around Australia, you’ll also find an eclectic variety of iconic images taken from the road and wilderness, which inspired two books: The Black Rose and Minutes to Midnight.

He also broke ground as the first Australian to be invited to join Magnum Photos, a legendary collective of elite photographers who capture everything from street and fashion photography to world events and cultural celebrations.

Arguably one of the most innovative photographers in the world, Parke is praised for his satirical images that paint a vivid picture of Australia’s unique mix of cultures and settings.

4. Linda Wisdom


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Linda Wisdom Photography (@lindawisdomphotography) • Instagram photos and videos

Determined to create moods and elicit emotions with her art, Linda Wisdom is one of the most cutting-edge photographers on earth.

Based in London, England, Wisdom spearheaded a meetup group for like-minded photographers to learn and collaborate.

A self-taught street photographer, Wisdom’s photographic interests range from lifestyle to street photography, but all images share a common theme of impactful storytelling, which comes through strongly on her Instagram grid.

Unique angles that showcase an array of demographics make her grid a visual smorgasbord viewers will take delight in.

Wisdom also relies on natural lighting and the elements to capture candid everyday life — whether you’re recognizing the reality of a rainy-day pedestrian or appreciating a black-and-white image of a couple sharing a kiss.

When she’s not behind the lens, Wisdom can be found mentoring others through tours and workshops.

She’s surely one of the modern street photographers to watch out for.

5. Eugene Atget


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Eugène Atget (@atgetinparis) • Instagram photos and videos

Eugene Atget is another pioneer in documentary and street photography with an Instagram archive worth exploring.

After trying a career in acting and suffering from an infection that prevented advancement as a thespian, Atget turned to photography full-time and soon became one of the many famous street photographers before 1900.

With a dedication to showcasing the streets of Paris and the historic architecture before everything was transformed by a modern makeover, Atget began photographing in the late 1880s.

(See our guide to the most famous architecture photographers.)

Atget started with what would be considered modern equipment at the time, a bellows camera. However, even when handheld and compact cameras began to rise in popularity, he stuck to his bellows.

Prior to making the streetscapes of Paris his focus, Atget practiced more traditional landscape and garden photography. Once he started noticing the revolution taking place in Paris due to modern luxuries and amenities, Ateget took on street photography exclusively.

The warm antique quality of his photos captures an eventful period in Paris — the gorgeous urban setting of Old Paris that many street photographers admire and reference as inspiration today.

6. Vivian Maier


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Vivian Maier (@vivianmaierarchive) • Instagram photos and videos

Hailing from the Big Apple, Vivian Maier is a legendary female street photographer we should all be acquainted with.

Born in New York City in 1926, Vivian Maier was born into humble beginnings to European parents and managed to learn elementary-level English by going to old theaters.

Although she passed away in 2009, many aspiring photographers flock to her captivating archive on Instagram, which shows a wide range of street demographics and moods.

Because her mother was a native of France, Vivian Maier spent a significant amount of time bouncing between France and the states throughout her childhood, which photography historians believe gave her an eye that allowed her to appreciate different street settings that would later be evident in her work.

Maier started practicing photography with a high-end line of Rolleiflex cameras, which scholars assert bestowed her images with a greater level of detail than what the standard cameras of the time in America could produce.

Whether you admire the elderly woman enveloped in a fur coat lurking around her apartment complex or the young man contemplating his day next to a city trashcan, there’s no denying the tremendous impact Maier had on street photography that makes her an iconic member of the world’s famous street photographers.

7. Garry Winogrand


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Garry Winogrand (@winograndfilm) • Instagram photos and videos

Bronx-born street photographer Garry Winogrand is another on the long list of the most famous street photographers worth exploring.

Though he died in the 1980s, his intriguing portfolio still thrives on Instagram.

Born to Polish and Hungarian parents in a heavily working-class section of the Bronx, Winogrand was determined to make a better life for himself.

He joined the military in the 1940s but returned roughly a year later to attend college and begin working in the photojournalism field.

A brief marriage during his younger years produced two children, but his firm commitment to his work was unwavering and he eventually got divorced and turned to his true passion full-time.

His freelance photography career led to his work being featured at the prestigious Museum of Modern Art, which undoubtedly skyrocketed his career in candid photography.

With a collection of glamourous black-and-white images highlighting everything from the socialites and racial issues of his time to icons such as Muhammad Ali and John F. Kennedy, Winogrand is a true pillar in the art of street photography and part of the ultimate lineup of today’s famous street photographers.

8. Jesse Marlow


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Jesse Marlow (@jessemarlow) • Instagram photos and videos

With “don’t just tell them, show them” as his artistic motto and the title of his 2014 book, Jesse Marlow is an obvious choice on the list of the most famous street photographers you should know about in 2023.

Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1978, Marlow recalls the profound moment he knew he wanted to be a street photographer: after encountering Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s book covering graffiti in New York City titled Subway Art.

This photographic series was monumental in Marlow’s childhood and led to his burgeoning interest in photography.

After being influenced even more after learning about the works of Henri-Cartier Bresson and Alex Webb in college, Marlow started his career documenting the Aboriginal sports, culture and daily life of the vast, remote section of Australia with a series of black-and-white photos that made up his first book.

After sustaining a significant arm injury that left him unable to use his camera, Marlow began photographing others in similar situations, which comprised his second book and another black-and-white piece.

Based in his native Melbourne, his Instagram profile mainly showcases the geometric, art deco-tinged photos that are included in his third book mentioned above, Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them.

A stark contrast to the images in his first two books, these snapshots are rich with colors, interesting subjects and fascinating settings in and around Melbourne.

9. Diana Cuautle


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Diana Cuautle (@disposablecuautle) • Instagram photos and videos

An integral member of the New York City Street Photography Collective, Diana Cuautle is easily one of the best street photographers in the world.

A proud Bronx native and first-generation Mexican American, Cuautle has made it her mission to show all the beauty ingrained in the city streets of New York.

Her lyrical images cover everything from everyday snippets showing young professionals sitting with a newspaper to larger-than-life sculptures around the city to breathtaking cityscapes and an intimate look at unique individuals in highly crowded areas.

Unique angles bring an interesting perspective and strong viewer interest to Cuautle’s grid — whether you’re admiring a forgotten balloon leftover from a street parade or appreciating the jovial mood of her nieces running wild on the playground.

Featured in countless exhibitions around the world, there’s no denying Cuautle’s impact on street photographers in 2023 and beyond.

10. Jill Freedman


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Jill Freedman Family Estate (@jillfreedmanphoto) • Instagram photos and videos

With just a quick glance at the Instagram profile archiving her historic work, it’s no wonder Jill Freedman is a need-to-know person among the famous street photographers of our era.

With roots in Pittsburgh, Freedman was born in the late 1930s to a Jewish family, which led to her interest in traveling to Israel after earning her degree in sociology.

Freedman’s funds soon began to dwindle, and she took up singing to make extra cash, allowing her to move to London and Paris before returning to the city that never sleeps in the 1960s.

After her reluctant return to New York City, Freedman began working in advertising, which gave her the ability to see photography and copywriting from a different lens than consumers.

This newfound interest in photography combined with her sociology degree led to work that explored humanism with raw emotion that brought her images to life.

And by scrolling the IG grid showing her masterful work, you’ll see a strong theme in her subject matter: African Americans.

Scrollers will appreciate a glimpse into black family life, but will also see a mix of diverse panhandlers, policemen and firefighters, and sometimes, the marriage between them all, which makes Freedland one of the most well-known famous street photographers around.

11. Lee Friedlander


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Lee Friedlander Archive (@leefriedlanderarchive) • Instagram photos and videos

Another iconic person in the history of street photography, Lee Friedlander is easily a contender to feature on the list of the most influential and famous street photographers in the world.

An American street photographer, Lee Friedlander was born to Finnish and German-Jewish parents in the 1930s in Washington.

Friedlander went to art school to study photography in the 1950s and later rose to prominence after getting Madonna in front of his camera for a revealing photoshoot that was eventually published in Playboy.

With an Instagram grid filled with documentary photography capturing tropical climates from a variety of lenses, viewers will appreciate everything from loungers at the local pool to artistic shots of boutique mannequins with a reflection of the vibrant California palm trees across the street.

Friedlander proudly proclaims that his subject matter focuses on the social aspect of modern life with photos that also cover eclectic musicians in his town and his home life with portraits of his wife and daughter.

Still an active street photographer today, Friedlander’s photos even include some interesting street selfies and some images of his travels.

Whether you’re appreciating the still life of an owl from afar or a visually intriguing street sign shot, you’ll enjoy the black-and-white photography Friedlander brings to the table.

12. John Gill


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John Gill (@johngillphotography) • Instagram photos and videos

The dramatic flair running rampant on John Gill’s Instagram grid makes him a need-to-know street photographer in 2023.

Gill, admittedly someone who struggles to socialize, believes his photography allows him to connect with others and start important dialogues.

Born and bred in Yorkshire, this UK-based street photographer honors the area’s rich history of coal mining with images that highlight the working class.

Primarily focusing on passersby and homelessness in Northern England, his captivating black-and-white portraits represent a deconstructed scene, luring you in with a focused curiosity on the subject at hand.

And because this veteran photographer was accustomed to printing in black and white in darkrooms, he firmly believes non-colored photography feels more organic to him.

Determined to bring a sense of social understanding with his photography, Gill’s images depict themes of social norms and acceptance that will leave viewers and aspiring photographers enamored.

One of the biggest challenges noted by Gill is the suspicious nature people have when they see photographers, which encourages him to be swift, respectful and subtle.

Gill continues to educate and inspire viewers at the workshops he leads, as indicated by the barrage of awards and accolades in his professional arsenal that makes him one of the many famous street photographers today.

13. Bruce Gilden


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Bruce Gilden (@bruce_gilden) • Instagram photos and videos

Bruce Gilden’s textured and colorful Instagram grid makes him another must-follow and another on the list of famous street photographers of our time.

Another New Yorker, American photographer Bruce Gilden was born in Brooklyn in 1946 and, like fellow street photographer Jill Freedman, also studied sociology during his college years.

At a pivotal point in his life, Gilden saw the movie Blowup, which piqued his photographic desire and led him to buy a camera and pursue photography full-time.

Gilden first turned to visitors at Coney Island to satisfy his interest in candid street photography that showed ephemeral, everyday life while featuring a broad range of different people.

This focus of study undoubtedly shines through in his raw, candid close-ups of subjects on the street, which capture a beautiful variety of different skin, eye and hair shades and textures that are sure to have you captivated.

The bio of Gilden’s IG profile plays on this with a quote admitting he’s notorious for getting too close, and as he continues to age, he gets even closer.

And with each scroll along his Insta grid, the detailed facial expressions and wide array of age groups will have you going from a glance to a lingering gaze in no time.

With an impressive line of work that’s been spotlighted all over the United States, Europe and Asia, Gilden is indubitably a legend in the fascinating world of street photography.

He’s one of the most famous candid photographers to follow.

14. Walter Rothwell


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Walter Rothwell (@walter_rothwell) • Instagram photos and videos

With more than three decades of experience, Walter Rothwell is a veteran street photographer you need to follow in 2023.

Based in London, this British photographer has made waves in the world of photographing candid moments.

After co-founding the Street Photography International Collective in 2015, Rothwell was able to fully focus on his favorite genre.

A series of cinematic black-and-white portraits comprise his stunning Instagram grid — inviting your curious eyes into the lives of stray cats in Cairo, festival dancers in Malaysia and couples cuddling in front of Big Ben.

An advocate for the timeless beauty of black-and-white photos, Rothwell conducts a variety of international public and private workshops to educate aspiring photographers and refresh established experts on the art of capturing subjects on the street.

With work that has been presented in industry-leading events, Rothwell serves as a role model to budding street photographers around the world.

15. Umberto Verdoliva


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Umberto Verdoliva (@uverdoliva) • Instagram photos and videos

Truly smitten with the idea of achieving visual poetry, Italian photographer Umberto Verdoliva is another street photographer you need to check out.

Born in 1961 in a village near Naples, Verdoliva notes his interest in street photography from a young age.

With work that explores a beautiful blend of light, contrast, shadows and perspectives, Verdoliva is a curious spectator and documentarian of city street photography.

Verdoliva stands proudly behind his declaration that even the most routine day-to-day moments make up the most beautiful photography.

Interesting angles adorn his mostly black-and-white Instagram grid, and a tasteful amount of blurred pictures will have you appreciating the swift movement and candidness that’s authentically captured in street photos.

An active and enthusiastic mentor, Verdoliva continues to express his passion through workshops, presentations and exhibitions when he’s not behind the lens.

Whether you’re peering through the fenced shot of a passerby or the woman sulking on her phone in the corner booth of a bar, you’ll see how influential Verdoliva’s work has been in the street photography industry.

16. Josef Koudelka


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Josef Koudelka official (@josef_koudelka) • Instagram photos and videos

Josef Koudelka’s black and white captures with unconventional yet intriguing angles put him on the ever-growing list of famous street photographers you need to know about in 2023.

Born in Czechoslovakia in 1938, Koudelka started sharpening his photography talents at a young age by documenting his family.

Though he earned an engineering degree, Koudelka also initiated an exhibition showcasing his photos the same year.

Koudelka was also an advocate for Rolleiflex cameras, which he used to capture his travels and surroundings throughout Czechoslovakia, Romania and Hungary during the early 1960s and ‘70s.

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During this time, he became fascinated by the nomadic culture of gypsies with work that highlighted their beliefs, fashion and more.

Though every image on his IG grid is consistently black and white with an aesthetically pleasing uniform appearance, with a closer look, each photo is unique in perspective.

Koudelka seems to follow the rule of thirds on his grid almost obsessively with a grid organized by three photos with similar settings at a time.

With a passion for exploring death and rituals with his photography, Koudelka’s work continues to give an almost voyeuristic view into deeply personal daily life. This unique view has undoubtedly shaped modern-day photography and put him on the list of famous street photographers.

FAQs About Street Photography 

What is street photography?

There are several possible definitions filled with jargony buzzwords, but in its simplest form, street photography is the art of capturing unpredictable and unplanned everyday moments.

Why street photography?

Like any other form of photography, street photography encourages you to dig deeper, but here are a few more benefits:

  • Because of the candid, fleeting nature, it can promote quicker photography, which allows you to master photography better and faster.
  • It promotes the exploration of different areas and the meeting of new people, from all walks of life.
  • As is the case with John Gill, street photography can make socializing feel easier and more natural to those who may struggle with interacting.

What sparked the art of street photography?

Mainly, the desire to capture candid, day-in-the-life moments showcasing various genders, cultures, classes, races and ages whenever possible. The invention of the compact camera also helped tremendously in initiating this modern art form.

Who’s the most famous street photographer to date?

There’s no one answer, but one of the founding fathers of street photography is undoubtedly Henri Cartier-Bresson. Other pioneers in street photography include:

  • Alfred Steiglitz — beginning in the late 1800s, he worked for more than five decades to increase photography’s acceptance as an art form.
  • David Alan Harvey — his amazing landscape and candid street shots were featured in National Geographic for years.
  • Walter Rothwell — his dedication to teaching others about photographing moments on the street makes him a pivotal part of the community.

What about female street photographers?

There are a ton! A few of our favorites include:

  • Jaclyn Licht — her politically-charged and candid photos make her an all-around legend.
  • Diana Cuautle — a focus on the diverse community of New York City makes her a favorite.
  • Berenice Abbott — her iconic images taken before, after and during WWI make her a founding mother of street photography.

Who are the most famous black street photographers?

There are several! A few of our favorites include:

  • Brian Otieno — his images capturing the culture and beauty in Kenya remind you to be aware of your surroundings.
  • Linda Wisdom — her photos showcasing the streets of London have made her a luminary in the art.

Final Words

With the introduction of street photography, photographers were able to treat viewers to an inside look at the profound cultural, political and social events happening around them.

Unlike a classic tourist shot in front of a landmark, which could be misclassified as street photography, intentional street photography aspires to tell a story of the ephemeral moment vs. a quick, posed pitstop.

By reviewing the tremendous work created by any of the photographers discussed in the article, you’ll understand the beauty and significance of street photography, but if you want to explore other photographers and their brilliant work, check out Street Photography International.

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