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10 Most Inspiring Photographers And Instagrammers of 2015

There are few things that inspire me more than a photo. It can capture one thousand words without saying a word. It’s frozen time, yet timeless. And although millions wield the power of a camera (or camera phone), very few can master the photograph in such a creative and compelling style as these 10 fine photographers. Be impressed, amazed and inspired.

- Josh

 

1. Christian Fletcher

Without a doubt my favourite photographer. Many years ago I visited his gallery in Dubsorough, Australia and was blown away by the vivid landscapes he captured. In 2011 he won the Australian Professional Landscape Photographer of The Year award (from AIPP). 

© Christian Fletcher

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

2. Enrico Fossati

An Italian amateur self-taught landscape photographer with serious editing skills. Some of the best looking landscape photos I’ve ever seen anywhere. 

© Enrico Fossati

Website | 500px | Facebook

 

3. Drew Hopper

My favourite Instagrammer hands-down, and one of the best all-round photographers in the world. His landscape and travel shots are breathtaking and his innate talent to communicate emotion through still images is second-to-none.

© Drew Hopper

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

4. Mark Gvazdinskas

An amazing US-based photographer with a passion for the outdoors. He also captures amazing concert photos.

© Mark Gvazdinskas

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

5. Laurence Norah

A very talented and hard-working travel photographer and blogger. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Milan, Italy last year and he’s a true gentleman, complete with British accent. There’s no surprise over 400,000 folks follow him on Facebook.  

© Laurence Norah

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

6. Dave Bouskill

One of the world’s best known travel bloggers with his lovely wife Debra. They travel the globe sharing about their adventures (and mishaps). Dave uses heavier processing than I, but his photos speak volumes on his love of travel. Check out the photos on their website to catch a serious case of wanderlust!

© Dave Bouskill

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

7. Matt Gee

Based in Los Angeles, this popular Instagrammer shares his distinctive photography style with over 100,000 followers.

A photo posted by Matt Gee (@mattbg) on

Instagram

 

8. Israel Marino

Based in California, Israel captures inspiring landscapes and creative long-exposure images in addition to running photography workshops.

© Israel Marino

Website | Instagram

 

9. Pepe Soho

Hailing from Mexico, Pepe captures nature with an artistic flair that goes beyond what they eyes can see and touches the soul. Through photography he’s found a deep spiritual connection with the universe and shares beautiful images in his photo gallery in Mexico City.

© LightRoom Photogallery

Website | Instagram | Facebook

 

10. Manuel Pita

Something quite different from the above photographers. This Instagrammer’s style is instantly recognisable – a touch of whimsy mixed with everyday down-to-earth subjects. Shooting with an iPhone 5S, Manual has gained over 100,000 Instagram followers confirming that it’s not expensive equipment that defines a photographer, but a way of seeing the world.

© Manuel Pita

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

BONUS: Josh Bender

It would be remiss of me to forget about everyone else's favourite instagrammer! Tongue Out

Having visited over 50+ countries over the last 3 years, my love of photography has been birthed from a deep and profound passion for the indescribable beauty in this world. My photography style is transparent and uncensored, sharing everyday scenes from our ordinary yet extraordinary life.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

 

Other honourable Instagram mentions

There's so many instagrammers that could be on the above list. But here's a few more of my favourite:

@andy_best, @alexstrohl, @chrisburkard, @ipoenkgraphic, @dustinlefevre, @okie_haryadi, @nikonej, @jeanapetree, @billsmith2315, @kenkaminesky, @dariszcahyadi, @hendrahengg, @hitecdan, @mash_design, @thirdeyevis0n, @kotuha, @lhh_pics, @kieranhayesphotography, @ariamphibia, @natigrob, @silverhake_foto, @notesofnomads, @crazyintherain

Now it’s your turn. Which photographers inspire you? Add your favourites in the comments below. (If you say Josh Bender you’ll get extra bonus points!) Tongue Out

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Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by Hannah @Getting Stamped on
Great list, but you forgot me @gettingstamped ! Just kidding. Instagram is soooo addicting, love following you guys.
Posted by Paula McInerney on
Wow, they are inspiring. Josh deserves the honourable mention if not more. I love the shot by Mark Gvazdinskas
Posted by Adventurous Kate on
Hi, guys --

This weekend, I gave the keynote at the Women in Travel Summit in Boston. The subject: Gender Inequality in the Travel Blogging Industry.

One of the points that I made is that female travel photographers don't get nearly as much recognition as male travel photographers do. Whether it's being on "top photographer" lists like this one or speaking on photography at events like TBEX, female photographers face an uphill battle. That goes for photographers of color and LGBT photographers as well.

This post is yet another example of that practice. I'm very disappointed to see not just one, not just two, but ZERO female photographers on your list of top ten. There's no reason why Sherry Ott and Lola Akinmade Akerstrom don't deserve to be recognized as often as Laurence Norah and Dave Bouskill. It's not for talent reasons, that's for sure!

I know you guys are good people. I know you wanted to showcase your genuine favorite photographers and you didn't intend to produce something hurtful.

I just think that you should think a bit before you produce another post like this.
Posted by admin on
@Kate, I appreciate your feedback and don't doubt that there are certainly discriminations against women in various spheres in life. You can rest assured I didn't compile this list based on gender, race, religion, or milkshake flavour preference. I personally follow these photographers and actually for many of those on Instagram I didn't even know what their full name was before making this list. So the list wasn't based on gender at all, just the way it panned out in this case.

To be honest, I'm not in the business of trying to not hurt anyones feelings or creating politically correct content. I share my experiences from travelling around the world and life from my perspective, as I expect you would to. That's what gives each blog it's personality. And the world needs that. Some of our blogging friends are very mindful of the environment and focus their efforts on conservation and education. That's great and I respect what they do. It's their focus, but not mine.

You do a great job empowering women and I commend that. Our primary focus is family travellers. If your stories aren't relevant for families, I don't mind and certainly don't get offended. Variety is what makes this world beautiful. I'll continue to look for beauty in this world, and no doubt will continue to find it.

PS. I'm glad you pointed out Sherry Ott and Lola Akinmade Akerstrom. I hadn't heard of them before and they are both excellent photographers. Definitely will follow their work in the future.
Posted by @Reality_Travel on
fine if you want to be equal to us women and appreciate us then do a post of female photographers, kate just gave you some if you do not know any at all. you do realize that women make up half your family demographic by being mothers don't you or are you just out for father readers? maybe its time to make a new list photographers to watch this coming year just an idea.
Posted by Adventurous Kate on
Thanks for responding, Josh.

I completely understand that you weren't trying to fill a quota when you put together your list. But I think it's a good idea to take a look at a list before you post that and think to yourself, "Why are there no women at all here?" I see this happen again and again in travel blogging. Just one month ago, a guy in one of the FB groups asked for suggestions of female photographers -- he had put together a list and had realized that it was entirely male and he was working to correct that.

Getting into a diversity-oritented mindset is a tough habit to make at first, but I promise you that it's enormously worth it. One non-blogging example: I read voraciously -- around a book a week. This year, my goal is to limit literature written by white, straight, cisgender men to 10% of what I consume. Like many other industries, the publishing industry is heavily biased towards these men and when we break out, we gain a greater perspective of what the world has to offer from communities that don't often get to use their voice. So while I did just read a Jim Gaffigan book, I'm also reading plenty of Elena Ferrante and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Lionel Shriver and Zadie Smith. I'm very happy since making this effort.

Keep in mind that women are not a tiny niche. We're 50% of the population. And within your niche, family travel, women are the driving force. Women are mothers. It's pretty rare to find a family travel blog that doesn't have a woman at the helm (1Dad1Kid is the only example of which I know).

To be frank, I'm very surprised you haven't heard of either Sherry or Lola. Has Erin? They're major players in the travel blogging industry. But here are a list of female travel photographer bloggers whom I admire and I recommend you follow:

Lola Akinmade Akerstrom: GeotravelersNiche.com
Sherry Ott: OttsWorld.com
Bethany Salvon: BeersAndBeans.com
Alex Baackes: AlexinWanderland.com
Kirsten Alana: Aviatorsandacamera.com
Larissa Olenicoff: Blonde-gypsy.com
Katie Nadworthy: KatrinkaAbroad.com
Edna Zhou: ExpatEdna.com
Dani Heinrich: GlobetrotterGirls.com
Liz Carlson: YoungAdventuress.com
Amanda Williams: Dangerous-Business.com
Jewels Zee: JewelsZee.com
Posted by Pamm on
Hi,

I am sort of surprised at the lack of diversity - seeing as how Intsagram has women posting more than men. Not to take anthing away from the gentlemen that you mentioned.
Posted by Kerwin on
Umm...
I read Josh's post as he's just trying to highlight people's photo he likes and I learned about some more Instagrammers. I did not see your angle at all Kate, but I get your POV.

Kate, I truly understand your thoughts on this and read both your comments twice so I could digest where you are coming from and I totally get it.

But Josh's title is '10 most inspiring photographers and instagrammers in 2015.' As I read it and I could be wrong, he did not make a list of the "top" or "THE 10 best," these are the people he follows and these are the top 10 people who inspire him. Yes, its devoid of women, but I don't see an issue, but maybe that's 'cause I'm a guy.

I'd never heard of any but two of these guys on his list and did not even realize that they were all males until I read your comment. I guess I'm not that sensitive to the ethnic or gender of lists unless the title of the lists specifically points it out and I grew up in a matriarchal society and was raised by my grandmother and grandaunt for most of my life. And I'll add I'm pretty sensitive and cognizant about women's issues.

I'm familiar with most of the names on the list you have mentioned and I actually follow most of them, because I've met them and actually like and admire their work. Matter of fact, I enjoy watching them work when I travel with them, but I don't think you can fault Josh if they don't inspire him. He's stated he is not aware of them. I've met famous people and I have no idea who they are and when I tell people who I met, they crack up and are amazed at how come I don't know who they are. But the world is large and its also small. A most recent example was when I met a famous rapper and I had no idea who he was. So it happens.

Do you see my point Kate?

The interesting thing about lists is that you always get in trouble with them as people always try to figure out, well, how did you come up with the list and why isn't so and so on that list. But as humans, we like lists, so people do them all the time.

From what I know of Josh, I don't think he meant to create any issues with this post. Seems like he was just saying "here are 10 people I like on Instagram and BTW, I'm on Instagram too and I think I do good work."

Be gentle with him :-). You've done the first good step and introduced him to these talented ladies. And how come Kym Pham (instagram.com/kympham) is not on your list :-). I love her work!
Posted by Matt on
Love seeing your photos grow & get better with every new trip Josh! Sorry to be blunt but these comments are really lame ^ ... Politically correct nonsense, you obviously chose photographers you know of & look up to. The fact that they are all men doesn't mean anything. Gahhh the Internet can be a frustrating place...
Posted by admin on
@Kate Yes I have heard of Sherry & Lola, of course, but this is Josh's list, not mine. What inspires Josh is completely different to what inspires me and I don't think he needs a gender neutral list when he is writing about his favourite photographers. My Instagram looks somewhat different to Josh's and possibly may only be female, but does that mean I need to go find more men to inspire me? I appreciate your mission and respect your position, but this is a list of photographers that inspire Josh and I think there is no predisposition to pick a list that appeals to everyone, but himself.

@reality_travel We are very aware of our audience, but I'll reiterate this was Josh's passion post, not a post to hurt people or exclude people. Just a post he wanted to share on some photographers who may not be in any other spotlight, but his. Perhaps I will do my own post on the subject.

@Kerwin Thank you for your insight. And for another female to check out.

I think it's also important to note that only 2 of these photographers are travel bloggers. This is not a post for the industry, this is a post for photography lovers (Josh in particular favours landscapes).

Erin
Posted by Eileen - Of PureWander on
It can feel odd to break from what you know. I personally gravitate toward white, straight, 20-30something females when I'm relating to people professionally and personally. I'm not saying I've been cruel or a bigot or wrong, it's just often what many humans do. Lately though, I have become mindful of this and I'm trying (awkwardly) to reach out to the LGBTQ community, those of color, people not in my own age bracket and others who identify with one or more of these groups.

Josh, the results have been incredible. I'm devasted to know how much I was missing out in the past not taking into account the opinions and talents as much as I should have. Especially because I am a world traveler, and influencer of children and a representative through my words of international cultures and people.

It has nothing to do with people looking for politically correctness. It has everything to do with being a human of the world. And travelers of all people should be most mindful of that, as they tell stories of different backgrounds and different cultures globally. This includes one half of the population - women.

It has nothing to do with stopping everything and forcing yourself to include women out of pity or PC-ness or because we're whining. It has to do with a mindset that needs to be consciously worked on, for a long time.

Thank YOU for bringing to light some of these great photographers to my mind, because I realize I tend to gravitate toward female talent myself and miss out on the guys sometimes! I fall in the family travel category too and do hope to inspire our audience with all types of travelers. We work on this too - we work hard to include grandparents, childless aunts/uncles and other groups to make sure no one feels left out. It's an ongoing thing.

It's hard not to feel defensive when being corrected or introduced to new perspectives, but realize when part of a privileged group, those alternative mindsets are very powerful and very valid, even if you're not feeling connected personally to it. Listen and learn and move forward.
Posted by Amy on
I was also in attendance at the wonderful Women in Travel Summit this past weekend, and your post comes at a time when the gender dialogue in travel blogging is really heating up. Travel is only part of the blogging I do at my site, Shoes & Starships, where I focus a great deal on genre fandom of the geek variety. We are all aware of how things such as Gamergate or the phenomena of men calling out supposedly "fake geek girls" at conventions has affected the way we talk about gender and equality online.

While you clearly did not have negative intentions and I do not feel any animosity toward you (and very much enjoy the images you posted), I think that you have to be cognizant of your readership and the large female demographic in blogging. A list of all men, however excellent they are at their craft, points toward a lack of research. Kate mentioned a huge list of female travel photographers and while you were unaware of them, that is the exact point - you were unaware of them BECAUSE they are overlooked, and not for lack of content. A bit more time and energy on the part of all big players in the blog world will help bring these cool ladies into the spotlight that has long eluded them. Hopefully the points raised by Kate and others will cause your readers to check out female travel photographers, and maybe even lead to some of them being included on lists such as this in the future.
Posted by Theresa Christine on
Hello, thank you for this list! I have to say though, as a female travel blogger and photographer it's a bummer that there wasn't even a single female to make the list. I see this is a passion post, but in the future I'd love to see a mix of talented men and women included. :) I understand you meant no harm, but unless these sorts of things are pointed out then I know I won't expect to see any change in the world.
Posted by Meg Jerrard on
Well I loved this list, thanks for posting a round-up of some fantastic photographers; really loving instagram atm so will be making sure I'm following each of the above!! Stay awesome!
Posted by Steph on
Gorgeous photos in this post but I do have to agree with the ladies above. Even all the honorable mentions were men- that's like 30 men and no women at all. If you finish a list and find that there's not a single woman on it, I hope you would at least notice and examine why that is.
I don't think it has anything to do with being politically correct either. Everyone benefits from pushing themselves to branch out and this article would benefit from having a but more diversity in perspective.
Posted by Claire on
I'll echo the above in that it's unfortunate that out of the 10 listed plus honorable mentions it's sad that women are left out when they're the ones really killing it at the moment. However, I do know that this is your list and therefore you can technically write about anyone you want. My list, for example, would be only women. Those are the photographers I prefer and who I feel produce more interesting content.
Your title is a bit too presumptuous. This is an opinion piece, and the title should be reworded to reflect that. Of course, as with many fields, it is nearly impossible to quantify things like "most inspiring" or "most successful," but if you look at numbers (followers, etc.) then there are plenty of women who beat out the men and deserve to be on such a list. However, I know this is just YOUR personal opinion, but I see I'm not alone in being thrown by this post.
Posted by Anna Parker on
How do we all learn to take shots like that... those are memories for the wall!
Posted by Caz on
Great list Josh and I'm now following a few of them, including you! A couple of faves I have are @mattlawsonphotography for his beautiful shots of rural Australia and @davehagerman who inspires my wanderlust with shots of locals and their food across SE Asia and Turkey.
I promise I'll check out the female photographers as well! I'm relatively new on IG just stumbling across new people to follow.
Posted by Drew Hopper on
Hi guys, Just wanted to say thank you for including me in your 10 top instagrammers and photographers. I'm truly honoured and appreciate your support! I love what you've created with your travel blog with tips and advice for travellers. It's great to see some Aussies doing great things for the travel industry. You're inspiration to many people!
Posted by Andrea on
The comments on this are ridiculous. The photogs mentioned are great, their gender is unimportant.
Posted by Becky on
IMO Only worth getting upset about if the included photographers were undeserving. Not the case here.
Posted by Cacinda Maloney on
Great list Josh, many I have not heard of before, but looking forward to following them. Like Kerwin said, I love KymPham, she is amazing. I have also been trying to grow my Instagram account as well, so check it out too!
Posted by Michael on
Agree. I'm pro affirmative action...where needed. Not sure I see any anti women bias in photo or blogging.
Posted by Amelia on
This is a great list, but the comments have gotten hijacked. @Steph and @Claire there actually are some women photographers in the honorable mentions, I checked them out. While I admit it would be nice to see a perfect balance of genders and races in all things, I think that's unrealistic. If you look at your own instagram feed and it is mostly women are you going to search out more men or are you going to look for what speaks to you and moves you? We just came from a conference that was solely for women, and that sure wasn't gender neutral, so announcing that as part of the complaint seems a little funny.
BTW knowing this is a family travel blog I love that Erin stepped up to defend her man. Keep up the good work.
Posted by Stacey-jean on
Please. These are outstanding photographers you chose, even if you skipped me. Lol. There is no end to to the equality issue. You did not post my favorite photographer with Down syndrome and another with autism. There is just no end . You cannot please everyone. Great shots.
Posted by Alison G on
Wow You certainly caused a stir Josh. Although personally I think the people complaining about your article must just be jealous or just plain miserable people. Nit picking really gets my goat up.
Posted by Rhiannon on
Wow, these photographers look amazing! Will definitly have to check them out more thoroughly. On a side note, as a female and someone who is all for gender equality, I do not find this list offensive at all, I did not even notice the all men list until reading the comments, only about the amazing work and think it would make this list a whole lot less genuine if Josh changed it for the simple reason that there are no women. If I compiled a list of top ten, I'm not thinking about whether I've made sure there is an even number of female and male people in it, as I'm sure is the same for a lot of us. It's making a fuss about something unrelated, when the focus of this post is the amazing talent and work of people Josh has happened to come across.
Posted by Amanda on
Wow I wish my photos could look like this.

I just read all the comments above and I feel like political correctness has just been taken to a whole new level.
Didn't you know you aren't allowed to choose photographers on your own blog based on people you genuinely follow Josh? Geez. Sarcasm obviously.
And there has to be a certain amount of irony in telling someone they have a gender bias when the person saying so runs a blog specifically aimed at one gender. Just saying. I can't believe I actually used to read her blog despite it getting less and less relevant, NEVER AGAIN.
You guys are awesome, please never become like that!
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