Famous German Photographers

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 1 
Leni Riefenstahl
(Film Director, Photographer and Actress Known for Her Seminal Role in Producing Nazi Propaganda)
Leni Riefenstahl
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Birthdate: August 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 8, 2003

Leni Riefenstahl was a German film director and actress best remembered for her role in producing Nazi propaganda. She made her directorial debut in 1932, becoming one of the few women to direct a movie during the Weimar Period. Riefenstahl is credited with directing two of the most technically innovative propaganda films of all time, Olympia and Triumph des Willens.

 2 
Helmut Newton
(Photographer)
Helmut Newton
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Birthdate: October 31, 1920
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: January 23, 2004

Helmut Newton was a German-American photographer whose works earned him accolades all over the world. His photographs were featured on popular fashion magazines like Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. He also worked closely with Playboy, shooting several pictorials of models like Kristine DeBell and Nastassja Kinski.

 3 
Gerda Taro
(The First Woman Photojournalist to Have Died While Covering the Frontline in a War)
Gerda Taro
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Birthdate: August 1, 1910
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Stuttgart, Germany
Died: July 26, 1937

Gerda Taro was a German Jewish war photographer who was active during the Spanish Civil War. As a young woman, she became interested in Leftist politics. She then became involved with photographer Robert Capa and began her own career in photojournalism. She died in 1937 while covering the frontline during the Spanish Civil War.  

 4 
Alfred Eisenstaedt
(Father of Photojournalism)
Alfred Eisenstaedt
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Birthdate: December 6, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tczew, Germany
Died: April 23, 1995

Alfred Eisenstaedt was a German-born American photojournalist and photographer who achieved popularity as a photographer for Life magazine. Remembered for capturing memorable images, Eisenstaedt is credited with capturing the V-J Day in Times Square, which became one of his most popular cover photographs. In 1989, he was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Arts.

 5 
Andreas Gursky
(Artist, Photographer, University teacher)
Andreas Gursky
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Birthdate: January 15, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Leipzig

Known for his blatant use of digital manipulation and unique compositional strategies, Andreas Gursky is one of the most pricey, yet bestselling photographers of our time, with his best known work, Rhein II, fetching $4.3 million in 2011.  The first to produce large prints, measuring 6 × 8 feet or more, he also taught fine arts at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.

 6 
Wim Wenders
(Film director)
Wim Wenders
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Birthdate: August 14, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany

Wim Wenders is a German filmmaker and playwright. He is considered to be a major figure in New German Cinema.  Buena Vista Social Club and Pina are among his best-known works. He has received three nominations for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Besides filmmaking, he is also active as a photographer and has published several books. 

 7 
Astrid Kirchherr
(Photographer)
Astrid Kirchherr
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Birthdate: May 20, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hamburg, Germany
Died: May 12, 2020

Astrid Kirchherr was a German photographer and artist who was famous for the photographs she took of the original band members of the Beatles. She wanted to study fashion designing as a young woman but shifted to photography at the recommendation of a teacher. She later became acquainted with the Beatles and took several iconic photographs of them. 

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 8 
Gisela Getty
(Photographer)
Gisela Getty
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Birthdate: April 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kassel, Germany

German photographer Gisela Getty is known as an icon of the ’68 movement. She; her boyfriend, J. Paul Getty III; and her sister, Jutta, had once shared a bed, as a "threesome." She made headlines when she got married to Paul after he was released following a scandalous abduction.

 9 
Ulay
(Artist who received international recognition for his Polaroid art and collaborative performance art)
Ulay
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Birthdate: November 30, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Solingen, Germany
Died: March 2, 2020

Professionally known as Ulay, German artist Frank Uwe Laysiepen began his career in Amsterdam as a photographer for Polaroid, clicking photos across Europe and USA. Later he also took up performing arts, collaborating with his then-companion Marina Abramović, creating numerous pieces, including the Relation Series. After their breakup, he continued with his performing art while concurrently with experimenting with his camera.

 10 
Gunter Sachs
(Photographer)
Gunter Sachs
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Birthdate: November 14, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Schloss Mainberg, Schonungen, Germany
Died: May 7, 2011

Gunter Sachs was a German author, photographer, and industrialist. The third husband of Brigitte Bardot, Sachs attained international recognition as a documentary photographer and documentary filmmaker. An art collector and close friend of Andy Warhol, Gunter Sachs is credited with organizing Warhol's first European exhibition.

 11 
Peter Lindbergh
(Photographer)
Peter Lindbergh
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Birthdate: November 23, 1944
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leszno

Best remembered as a fashion photographer, Peter Lindbergh was also a successful film director, credited with several films and documentaries. Also known for creating covers for several music albums, he began his career as an assistant to photographer Hans Lux before opening his own studio and joining Stem Magazine. His works have been displayed in several exhibitions across the world.

 12 
Karl Blossfeldt
(Former photographer, sculptor best known for his close-up photographs of plants and living things, published in 1929 as Urformen der Kunst)
Karl Blossfeldt
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Birthdate: June 13, 1864
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Schielo, Germany
Died: December 9, 1932

Karl Blossfeldt was a German photographer, artist, sculptor, and teacher. He is best remembered for his work Urformen der Kunst, a collection of close-up photos of animals and plants. The book became highly influential and Blossfeldt's works were used as teaching tools in Berlin. Blossfeldt also served as a professor at the United State Schools for Fine and Applied Art. 

 13 
Wolfgang Tillmans
(Photographer)
Wolfgang Tillmans
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Birthdate: August 16, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Remscheid

Wolfgang Tillmans is a German photographer best known for his diverse body of work. A highly acclaimed photographer, Tillmans has won many awards, such as the Hasselblad Award. In 2000, Wolfgang Tillmans became the first photographer and the first non-British person to be honored with the prestigious Turner Prize.

 14 
Horst P. Horst
(Photographer)
Horst P. Horst
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Birthdate: August 14, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Weißenfels, Germany
Died: November 18, 1999

Horst P. Horst was a fashion photographer best remembered for his association with Vogue magazine. He is credited with capturing The Mainbocher Corset, one of the 20th century's iconic photos. Horst P. Horst is also remembered for photographing some of the most popular personalities like Harry S. Truman, Bette Davis, Noël Coward, and Marlene Dietrich.

 15 
John Heartfield
(Photographer, Painter, Poster artist)
John Heartfield
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Birthdate: June 19, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Schmargendorf
Died: April 26, 1968

John Heartfield was a German visual artist. He is credited to have pioneered the use of art as a political weapon. He used photomontages to satirize Adolf Hitler and depict his anti-Nazi and anti-fascist sentiments. He studied at the Royal Bavarian Arts and Crafts School and went on to launch a publishing house, Malik-Verlag, with his brother.  

 16 
Méret Oppenheim
(Surrealist artist and photographer)
Méret Oppenheim
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Birthdate: October 6, 1913
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 15, 1985
Méret Oppenheim is best remembered for her surrealist art such as Object: Breakfast in Fur. She also modeled for artists. Throughout her career, she had created furniture, jewelry, and even poetry. In her performance piece Spring Feast, she laid out a banquet on top of a nude woman.
 17 
Margret Nissen
(Photographer)
Margret Nissen
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Birthdate: June 19, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Germany

Margret Nissen is a German photographer and daughter of German architect Albert Speer. Best known for her architectural photography skills, Nissen's works have been widely exhibited in Berlin since 1980. Margret Nissen is also a writer; in 2004, she wrote a book about her father titled Sind Sie die Tochter Speer?

 18 
Bernd Becher
(Photographers)
Bernd Becher
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Birthdate: August 20, 1931
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Germany
Died: June 22, 2007

Bernd Becher was a German photographer and conceptual artist. He was one half of the popular Bernd and Hilla Becher duo. Bernd and his wife Hilla are credited with founding the Becher School, which influenced generations of artists and documentary photographers. The duo was honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Erasmus Prize and the Hasselblad Award.

 19 
Hans Bellmer
(Former artist, best known for the life-sized pubescent female dolls he produced in the mid-1930s)
Hans Bellmer
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Birthdate: March 13, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Katowice, Poland
Died: February 23, 1975

German Surrealist artist Hans Bellmer is best known for his life-sized female dolls and erotic photography. He released the anonymous book Die Puppe. It is believed some of his dolls featured grotesque additions to reflect the Nazi obsession with perfection. He also collaborated with Unica Zürn for a bizarre photo series.

 20 
Peter Berlin
(Adult Film actor, Photographer)
Peter Berlin
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Birthdate: December 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland

Peter Berlin is a German-American artist, photographer, filmmaker, clothing designer, and model. He is best known for his gay porn film That Boy, which helped bring gay porn films much-needed artistic legitimacy. His artwork and photographs have been exhibited all over the world. His life and career have inspired a documentary film titled That Man: Peter Berlin.

 21 
Ellen von Unwerth
(Photographer)
Ellen von Unwerth
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Birthdate: January 17, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

Ellen von Unwerth is a German photographer best known for her feminist approach to photography. A former fashion model, Von Unwerth makes fashion, advertising, and editorial photographs. She is Renowned for portraying women's sexuality without objectifying her models. Apart from publishing her photographs in popular magazines, Von Unwerth also directs short films for fashion designers and commercials for famous brands.

 22 
Sigmar Polke
(Painter)
Sigmar Polke
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Birthdate: February 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Olesnica, Poland
Died: June 10, 2010

Sigmar Polke was a German photographer and painter who experimented with several styles, materials, and subject matters. He is credited with founding Capitalist realism, an art movement that focuses on commodity-based art. He is also credited with developing a new technique to come up with mechanically produced paintings. Polke’s works influenced many younger artists like Julian Schnabel and Richard Prince.

 23 
Kristina Söderbaum
(German Actress Known for Her Roles in Nazi-Era Films Made by a German State-Controlled Production Company)
Kristina Söderbaum
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Birthdate: September 5, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: February 12, 2001

Kristina Söderbaum was a Swedish-born German actress, photographer, and producer. She is best remembered for playing important roles in films that were made by the state-controlled production companies in Nazi Germany. Regarded as the quintessential Nazi star, Söderbaum portrayed the ideal Aryan woman. She later expressed regret for playing such roles. After her acting career, Söderbaum became a fashion photographer.

 24 
Thomas Ruff
(German Photographer and Prominent Member of the 'Düsseldorf School')
Thomas Ruff
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Birthdate: February 10, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Zell, Germany

Thomas Ruff is a German photographer who developed his own method of conceptual serial photography. After studying photography from 1977 to 1985 at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, Ruff went on to establish himself as an acclaimed photographer. He then worked as a teacher at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he taught photography from 2000 to 2005.

 25 
Marianne Brandt
(German Painter, Sculptor, Photographer, Metalsmith and Designer)
Marianne Brandt
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Birthdate: October 1, 1893
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chemnitz, Germany
Died: June 18, 1983

Marianne Brandt was a German painter, photographer, sculptor, designer, and metalsmith. She is credited with designing several household objects like ashtrays, teapots, and lamps that are regarded as a paradigm of modern industrial design. After studying at the Bauhaus art school in Weimar, Marianne Brandt went on to serve as the head of the school's Metal Workshop in Dessau.

 26 
Oskar Barnack
(Inventor)
Oskar Barnack
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Birthdate: November 1, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lynow, Germany
Died: January 16, 1936

Oskar Barnack was a German photographer and inventor. He is credited with building a device, which would later become the first successful 35mm still-camera. Barnack developed the camera, which was named Leica, at the Leitz Company where he was working as an engineer. Oskar Barnack is also credited with creating news images, which he made with his 35 mm camera.

 27 
Erwin Blumenfeld
(Photographer)
Erwin Blumenfeld
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Birthdate: January 26, 1897
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: July 4, 1969

Erwin Blumenfeld was a German-born American photographer. Blumenfeld became a successful fashion photographer, working for popular magazines like American Vogue, Life, and Harper's Bazaar. Erwin Blumenfeld is best remembered for experimenting with various photographic techniques like solarization, photo-montage, multiple exposure, and distortion.

 28 
Wols
(Painter, Photographer)
Wols
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Birthdate: May 27, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: September 1, 1951

Wols was a German photographer and painter. Widely regarded as a pioneer of lyrical abstraction, Wols was one of the most important and influential personalities of the Tachisme movement. However, his works were hardly recognized and appreciated during his lifetime. Wols is also remembered for his influential book titled Aphorismes de Wols, which discusses art theory.

 29 
Horst Faas
(Journalist)
Horst Faas
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Birthdate: April 28, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: May 10, 2012

Horst Faas was a German photo-journalist remembered for capturing pictures of the Vietnam War. Faas was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Photography twice. He also worked as a picture editor, playing a key role in the publication of two of the most controversial pictures: Saigon Execution and Napalm Girl. Faas was the recipient of the Robert Capa Gold Medal.

 30 
Ruth Bernhard
(Photographer)
Ruth Bernhard
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Birthdate: October 14, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: December 18, 2006

Ruth Bernhard was a photographer who had solo exhibitions at popular art galleries like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Regarded as one of the greatest photographers of the nude, Ruth Bernhard was inducted into the Women's Caucus for Art in 1981. Ruth Bernhard was also honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Cyril Magnin Award.

 31 
Thomas Demand
(Sculptor)
Thomas Demand
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Birthdate: 1964 AD
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

Thomas Demand is a German photographer and sculptor who had his debut solo exhibition in 1992 at Tanit Galerie in Munich. He then went on to display his works at popular art galleries like the Museum of Modern Art, Neue Nationalgalerie, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. In 2011, he was nominated for the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.

 32 
Heinz Stücke
(Cyclist)
Heinz Stücke
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Birthdate: January 11, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hövelhof, North Rhine-Westphalia

Heinz Stücke is a German long-distance itinerate cyclist best known for his world record-setting bicycle touring in 1995. In a journey spanning over five decades, Heinz Stücke has traveled more than six hundred thousand kilometers. Between 1962 and 2010, he visited 78 territories and 195 countries. Heinz Stücke’s name is also in the Guinness Book of Records.  

 33 
Henri-Victor Regnault
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Birthdate: July 21, 1810
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aachen, Germany
Died: January 19, 1878

Noted French chemist and physicist Henri-Victor Regnault initially taught chemistry and then gained fame for his research on the thermal properties of gases. He lost both his laboratory and his son during the Franco-German War. His is one of the 72 names that adorn the Eiffel Tower.

 34 
Erich Salomon
(Photographer)
Erich Salomon
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Birthdate: April 28, 1886
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 7, 1944

Erich Salomon was a German news photographer remembered for his pictures in the legal profession. Salomon is also remembered for the methods that he used to acquire his photographs. Many of his pictures were taken by concealing the camera in his hat. He is one of two persons to have captured a session of the Supreme Court of the US.

 35 
Gisèle Freund
(Photographer)
Gisèle Freund
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Birthdate: December 19, 1908
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 30, 2000

Gisèle Freund was a German-born French photojournalist and photographer best remembered for her portraits of artists and writers and documentary photography. Throughout her career, Gisèle Freund was honored with several prestigious awards like the German Society's cultural photography prize and Grand prix national des Arts pour la Photographie. She also served as the president of the French Association of Photographers.

 36 
Albert Renger-Patzsch
(Photographer)
Albert Renger-Patzsch
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Birthdate: June 22, 1897
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Würzburg, Germany
Died: September 27, 1966

Albert Renger-Patzsch was a German photographer who started capturing mind-blowing images when he was just 12 years old. Albert had his debut museum exhibition in 1927 after publishing a book titled The choir stalls of Cappenberg in 1925. In 1928, Albert Renger-Patzsch came up with his best known book Die Welt ist schön, a collection of 100 photographs.

 37 
Elsbeth Juda
(Photographer, Art collector, Opinion journalist)
Elsbeth Juda
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Birthdate: May 2, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Darmstadt
Died: July 5, 2014

Elsbeth Juda was a British photographer best remembered for her pioneering fashion photographs. Juda is also remembered for her work as photographer and associate editor for The Ambassador magazine, where she worked between 1940 and 1965. A portraitist, Elsbeth Juda is also credited with photographing several British artists like Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Sir Peter Thomas Blake, and Kenneth Armitage.

 38 
Ilse Bing
(Photographer)
Ilse Bing
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Birthdate: March 23, 1899
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 10, 1998

Ilse Bing was a German photographer best remembered for producing pioneering monochrome images. Many of her photographs have been displayed in popular museums like the Museum of Modern Art. In 1990, she was honored with the Women’s Caucus for Art Award. In 1993, Ilse Bing received the First Gold Medal Award for Photography.

 39 
Lotte Jacobi
(Photographer)
Lotte Jacobi
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Birthdate: August 17, 1896
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Torun, Poland
Died: May 6, 1990

Lotte Jacobi was a photojournalist and portrait photographer. She was trained at the Bavarian State Academy of Photography and was famous for her high-contrast black-and-white portrait photography. Her subjects were both common people and high-profile figures, and she tended to delve deeper into the traits of her subjects than in traditional portraiture. She was married to publisher Erich Reiss.  

 40 
Heinz Schubert
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Birthdate: November 12, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 12, 1999
Helmut Erich Robert Gernsheim
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Birthdate: March 1, 1913
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: July 20, 1995

An alumnus of State School of Photography, Munich, Helmut Erich Robert Gernsheim was a celebrated photographer, photo historian and collector. Born in Germany, he eventually moved to London, where he spent most of his life, publishing several works, collecting over 33,000 photographs, 4,000 books, research notes and correspondences, trying to establish photographic galleries and museums in the USA and Britain.

 42 
Otto Steinert
(Photographer)
Otto Steinert
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Birthdate: July 12, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saarbrücken, Germany
Died: March 3, 1978

Otto Steinert was a German photographer. He is credited with co-founding an avant-garde photography group called Fotoform. Apart from being a photographer, Steinert also worked as a teacher. He taught at the Folkwang Hochschule school in Essen from 1959 until his death in 1978.

 43 
Hilla Becher
(Photographer)
Hilla Becher
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Birthdate: September 2, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: October 10, 2015

Hailed as the cofounder of the Düsseldorf School of Photography, German conceptual photographer, Hilla Becher is also credited for her efforts to start the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf's Photography department. Travelling in a Volkswagen with her husband and collaborator Bernhard Becher, she took photographs of industrial buildings and structures, often organizing them in grids and thus capturing the post-war Germany through her lenses.

 44 
Ellen Auerbach
(Photographer)
Ellen Auerbach
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Birthdate: May 20, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Karlsruhe, Germany
Died: July 30, 2004

Ellen Auerbach was a photographer best remembered for her work with the ringl+pit studio in Berlin, which she co-founded with Argentine photographer Grete Stern. The studio, which specialized in fashion, advertising, and portrait photography, was one of the first female-run photographic businesses in the world. 

 45 
Robert Meyer
(Photographer)
Robert Meyer
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Birthdate: October 2, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oslo, Norway

Robert Meyer is a Norwegian art photographer, photo historian, professor, writer, collector, and publicist. He is credited with founding a publishing company named Ikaros in 1976. In 1990, he became Norway's first professor of photography when he started teaching at the National College of Art. In 1998, Robert Meyer started a private college for photography in Oslo. 

 46 
Jacques Lowe
(Photographer)
Jacques Lowe
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Birthdate: January 24, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cologne, Germany
Died: May 12, 2001

Jacques Lowe was an internationally-renowned photographer and photojournalist best known for being the official photographer for President J.K. Kennedy. He began his career as an assistant to the photographer Arnold Newman and was selected to be Kennedy's campaign photographer in 1958. He had a prolific career. Sadly, thousands of his negatives were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. 

 47 
Benny Rebel
(Photographer)
Benny Rebel
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Birthdate: August 13, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Iran

Benny Rebel is an Iranian-German photographer best known for his wildlife photography. Rebel is renowned for capturing extremely close-up pictures of dangerous animals in Africa. He also plays an important role in promoting wildlife conservation by working with non-governmental environmental organizations like Greenpeace. Benny Rebel has also appeared in several TV shows.

 48 
Hugo Erfurth
(Photographer)
Hugo Erfurth
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Birthdate: October 14, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Halle, Germany
Died: February 14, 1948

Hugo Erfurth was a German photographer best remembered for his portraits of cultural figures and celebrities of the early-20th century. He is credited with co-founding an exhibiting group called Gesellschaft Deutscher Lichtbildner, where he played a major role in the development of the group.

 49 
Karsten Thielker
(Photographer)
Karsten Thielker
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Birthdate: November 12, 1965
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
Died: October 3, 2020

Pulitzer Prize winning German photographer, Karsten Thielker, started his career at a regional newspaper before joining Associated Press. Assigned to cover the Yugoslavian War, he soon started covering human suffering in conflict zones around the world, winning the coveted prize for his photos of a Rwanda refugee camp in Tanzania. Later, he returned to Berlin to focus on street photography.

Find out more about the greatest German Photographers, including Leni Riefenstahl, Wim Wenders, Andreas Gursky, Helmut Newton and George Grosz.