Critically Acclaimed Photographers

When photography was invented in 1839, early aficionados and practitioners wondered aloud, “Is photography art?” Like one early member of the 19th-century Photographic Society of London complained, many considered photography “too literal to compete with works of art.” In the decades since, the art establishment’s perception of photography has changed dramatically, placing the medium unquestionably in the realm of fine art. Auction records can attest—the most expensive photographs ever sold include Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II (1999) at $4.3 million, Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96 (1981) at $3.9 million, and Jeff Wall’s Dead Troops Talk (1992) at $3.7 million. Below, discover photographs that have commanded critical acclaim and cultural …

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This is based on the artwork’s average dimension.