Written by


  • Robert Doisneau
  • Horst P Horst
  • Robert Mapplethorpe
  • Helmut Newton
  • Norman Parkinson
  • Irving Penn
  • Man Ray
  • Herb Ritts

In this, we profile the lives and explore the legacies of some of the biggest photography luminaries to have ever lived and worked on the planet. The precursors of fashion photography go back to the 18th century when images of fashionable clothes were printed in magazines and often hand-coloured. Paris was, at that time, a centre for the production of such magazines, many of which were imported into England.


The technique of photography was developed in the 1830s, but it wasn’t until much later that the métier of fashion photography came into existence. The earliest popular photographic technique, the daguerreotype, could not be used for mass printing. A later technique enabled the production of the ‘carte de visite’, which were made for individuals and which also depicted famous theatre and music hall personalities of the age.


It wasn’t until advances in halftone printing techniques that fashion photographs came to be featured in magazines. This happened in about the first decade of the 20th century.


Now when we see famous designer brands in advertisements and catalogues, what we are really seeing is the artistry of the image-makers who stand behind the camera. What we don’t see is their names.


Personal opinion will decide who were the greatest photographers of all time, but in the minds of many experts, a special few could be singled out. We have recently just seen the passing of an era, as Corinne Day, Richard Bailey, Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Horst P Horst, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Robert Mapplethorpe, Norman Parkinson are all no longer with us, but their legacy, like that of historic monuments, lives on. Their epic images will forever capture a feeling of their times.


Our two Immortals editions detail some of the most enduring and famous names in photography, all of whom are no longer with us.