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The Best Documentary Photographers Of The Last Century
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The Best Documentary Photographers Of The Last Century

Picture of Ellie Griffiths
Updated: 12 December 2015
Diane Arbus once said, ‘a photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.’ Documentary photography has always come with a great responsibility: capturing the true essence of reality. We uncover the best documentary photographers who have shared a secret from the past, for you to discover.
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Yevgeny Khaldei
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Yevgeny Khaldei


Yevgeny Khaldei, ‘Soviet Soldiers Raising A Red Flag Over The Reichstag’,

Berlin, 1945



Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Nick Danziger
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Nick Danziger


Nick Danziger, Glasgow, ‘Broken Fire Hydrant, Parkhead’, 1994



Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Willy Ronis
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Willy Ronis


Willy Ronis, ‘Skiers at Megeve’, 1938



Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Edouard Boubat
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Edouard Boubat


Edouard Boubat, ‘Café De Flore, Saint-Germain-Des-Prés, Paris’, 1953



Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Herbert Ponting
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Herbert Ponting

Herbert Ponting, ‘Cavern In An Iceberg’, 1910


Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © René Burri
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © René Burri


René Burri, ‘São Paulo’, 1960



Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Robert Capa
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Robert Capa


Robert Capa, ‘Allied Troops in Paris Attacking Germans Entrenched in Public Buildings’, 1944

Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Robert Doisneau
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Robert Doisneau


Robert Doisneau, ‘Les Lilas de Ménilmontant’, 1956


Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Tatsuo Suzuki
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Tatsuo Suzuki


Tatsuo Suzuki, ‘Shibuya’, Tokyo, 2013



Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Neil Libbert
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Neil Libbert


Neil Libbert, ‘Greyhound Station’, Las Vegas, Nevada, 1960



Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Margaret Bourke-White
Courtesy of Beetles + Huxley/Osborne Samuel © Margaret Bourke-White


Margaret Bourke-White, ‘Aerial View of aDevelopment Tract of Single Family Houses in Muncie, Indiana’, 1937



The Photographers 2015 Exhibition portrays the most important and iconic photographs from the history of the medium. The exhibition will run from 25 November – 23 December 2015, at both Osborne Samuel and Beetles + Huxley.


Osborne Samuel, 23A Bruton Street, London, UK, +44 207 493 7939

Beetles + Huxley, 3-5 Swallow Street, London, UK, +44 207 434 4319




By Ellie Griffiths