We mined the Internet for the best photography documentaries so you didn’t have to. Watch these full-length videos we found on Youtube to help inspire you as a photographer, and help you to learn more about the craft.

Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank

2005

Robert Frank (born November 9, 1924) is a Swiss-American photographer and documentary filmmaker.  His most notable work, the 1958 book titled The Americans, earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and nuanced outsider’s view of American society.  Wikipedia source ❯

Pen, Brush and Camera

1998

Henri Cartier-Bresson (August 22, 1908 – August 3, 2004) was a French photographer considered the master of candid photography, and co-creator of the photo agency Magnum.  He established photojournalism as an art form, helped develop street photography, and approvingly cited a notion of the inevitability of a decisive moment, a term adopted as the title for his first major book.  His work has influenced many photographers.

Cindy Sherman – Nobody’s Here But Me

1994

Cynthia Morris Sherman (born January 19, 1954) is an American photographer and film director, best known for her conceptual portraits. In 1995, she was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.  In 2013 she received an honorary doctorate degree from the Royal College of Art, London.  She Complete Untitled Film Stills,” a series of 69 photographs and one of her best-known works; her black-and-white photographs challenged cultural stereotypes supported by the media.  Wikipedia source ❯

The Real Weegee

1993

Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur (Usher) Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography.  Weegee worked in Manhattan, New York City’s Lower East Side, as a press photographer during the 1930s and 1940s.  Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and death.  Weegee published photographic books and also worked in cinema, initially making his own short films and later collaborating with film directors such as Jack Donohue and Stanley Kubrick.  Wikipedia source ❯

Ansel Adams – A Documentary Film

2002

Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist.  Adams and Fred Archer developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print.  The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs.  He primarily used large-format cameras because the large film used with these cameras (primarily 5×4 and 8×10) contributed to the clarity of his prints.  Wikipedia source ❯

The Many Lives of William Klein

2012

William Klein (born April 19, 1928) is an American-born French photographer and filmmaker noted for his ironic approach to both media and his extensive use of unusual photographic techniques in the context of photojournalism and fashion photography.  He was ranked 25th on Professional Photographer’s list of 100 most influential photographers.  Wikipedia source ❯

Richard Avedon: Darkness and Light

1996

Richard Avedon (May 15, 1923 – October 1, 2004) was an American fashion and portrait photographer. An obituary published in The New York Times said that “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century”.  Wikipedia source ❯

Everybody Street

2013

This beautifully shot documentary pays tribute to the lives and work of New York’s iconic street photographers, including Bruce Davidson, Mary Ellen Mark, Elliott Erwitt, Ricky Powell and Jamel Shabazz and the city that has inspired them.

What do you think?

Do you have any interesting recommendations on Youtube? Feel free to leave titles and links in the comments below.