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Top 20 Young Photographers 2012

When I first had the idea to write this post, I didn’t quite realise the scale of the task that I was taking on. I’ve been scouring the internet for over a month now, and I’ve had the incredibly tough task of whittling it down from roughly 100 young photographers to just 20, and then putting them all in order, ranking them based on my own experience of what’s out there, and of course, my personal taste.

The standard of work has near enough blown me away as I wasn’t expecting something so great. Thanks to everyone who has recommended someone to me, it’s been hard to keep track of where they’ve all come from. I encourage you to visit the websites and fan pages of each of the people listed here, because there’s so much tallent that you’ll either be completely inspired, or it will ruin your day. Here they are…

1 – David Olkarny – 24

David is a photographer, cameraman and video editor based in Brussels, Belgium, and he’s also self taught. The first thing that struck me about David’s photography when I saw it was the creativity involved, which combined with his natural flair has produced some amazing results. I would typically write more than this, but I think it’s best for you to see for yourself. I would suggest following his Facebook page, which now has over 100,000 fans in just a few months, where he regularly updates with new photos of his. I would also suggest clicking on his website, listening to the music and flicking through the photography. This is the only time that I’ve not actually wanted to turn autoplay music off on a website. Check this one out.

2 – Lara Jade – 22

Lara Jade started her own photography career at the age of 17, originally taking on small clients in England, before becoming a fully fledged Fashion, Portrait & Advertising Photographer in New York City. Jealous yet? With quality work, came high demand, and Lara has taken it in her stride and her work has been featured in well known fashion and photography magazines worldwide. Not only is she hugely successful in the social media scene (70,000 fans on Facebook), but Lara is also currently working worldwide and is represented by leading agencies in London, Milan & the USA. If that’s not enough to inspire you yet, then you should know that she’s sponsored by Canon, Bowens Lighting, Broncolor Lighting, Lensbaby, Wacom, Datacolor, and is currently designing her own range of camera bags for US camera bag brand Naneu. One of my favourite photos from her.

3 – Brooke Shaden – 24

“Brooke Shaden is a fine art photographer living and working in the Los Angeles area. Her passion lies in creating new worlds through photographs. Her vision extends beyond the realm of the camera, creating images that resemble paintings and speak of an era that is not our own. Each image is a story.” That’s what I love about her photography, it always looks as if it was taken in another world to ours, with a dreamy like atmosphere. She has an incredible vision, and you can see that in every one of her photos. I’ve been following her (in a non-stalky kind of way) for a few months now and her works just continues to improve. Check this photo out.

4 – Joey L – 21

Joey was actually the inspiration behind this post from when I first came across him over a year ago now. I was browsing a photography forum and people were listing their favourite photographers and someone mentioned him, and I couldn’t help but think ‘Jeez, how has someone so young done so much?’ He’s a Canadian-born photographer and director, currently based in New York City and his client list speaks for itself: Verizon, Nickelodeon, History channel, FX Channel, Smirnoff,  Kawasaki, Forbes, and The Government of Abu Dhabi. He works closely with Lara Jade listed above making a tutorial DVD. Check out this photo of his, I just love his lighting.

5 – Zhang “Zemotion” Jingna – 23

If you’d like to see her list of awards and accolades, then click here; there’s simply too many to list, but the one that stands out the most to me is when she was named Photographer of the Year by Elle Singapore in November 2011. At only 23, her portfolio has expanded to include names like MontBlanc, Canon, Lancôme, Pond’s, Wacom, Random House Publishing, as well as Elle, Zink and many other international publications. The success of her work has brought her to shoot in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo in just the short span of three years since turning professional. If that’s not enough, then you should know that she currently manages a StarCraft II team Infinity Seven. Check out this photo.

6 – Nicolas Méphane – 22

Nicolas is another person with great vision when it comes to photography as an artform, which is clearly demonstrated by his wide portfolio on his Facebook and website. His style is Conceptual, Emotive, Expressive, Fashion, Surreal and ‘Miscellaneous’, which makes a lot of sense when you start to look at some of his photos. Take this one for example, he’s managed to take what could have been just a regular photo of a model and turned it into a pyrotechnic display, reminiscent of a rock show. Simply amazing work.

7 – Kitty Gallannaugh – 21

“I’m a twenty-one year young photographer who likes to play and make magic with her camera. I’m a child with stars in my eyes, love in my heart and photography in my blood.” I can’t remember when I first came across Kitty, but I remember being quite inspired by the depth of her portfolio at such a young age, which inspires me to find more time to take photos for fun. It seems that Kitty is a girl after my own heart, because she realises how nerve-wrecking it feels to stare into a camera lens, which is why she always tries to make her clients feel at ease. She hates forced smiles and awkwardly framed poses, so she works to bring out the emotion and personality of the model. Imagining up new concepts to communicate a photograph, she tries to stretch the margins of regular photography and turn it into a tale. Check this photo out.

8 – Nirrimi Hakanson – 19

Nirrimi is a 19 year old Australian girl from North Queensland and in her own words: “It was always summer and my parents were wild and free, my childhood unconventionally beautiful. All that was, inspired all that is now. And so the naivety and quiet beauty of youth fascinates me, photography becomes a way to relive my own childhood.” She started out on deviantART when she was about 13, and by the age of 16 she had signed to an agency shooting her favourite magazine, and at age 17 she was shooting Diesel’s winter campaign in NYC. She has more of a career at her age than most people could ever even wish for, and she’s earned it. Check this photo out.

9 – Alexandra Sophie – 19

Alexandra is a 19 year old, self taught photographer from France who ‘loves to capture love, fairies, childhood dreams and fragility’. She lists on Facebook that she uses a Canon 5D Mark II + 50mm f/1.8 + Photoshop, which just goes to show what you can do with a small amount of kit. I recommend the f/1.8 to all beginner photographer, and on a full frame camera such as the Canon 5D Mark II, the photos really shine. Because of her style, her photos are very dreamy looking, and very soft, and usually I don’t like too much of that, but I think it just suits her. Have a look at this.

10 – Logan Hunt – 17

I don’t know what it was that struck me about Logan, or come to think of it, where I even found him, but I knew the first time I flicked through his portfolio that I liked what I saw. There’s very little information about him on the internet, but the pictures speak for themselves. Throughout this post I’ve been linking to images on Facebook so that you can like their pages, but I happen to think that his best work is on his website. The colour, softness and lighting of the photos make them vibrant, yet natural. If I had to hire a photographer to take photos of me, then this would probably be the guy. His portfolio may not be huge, nor his Facebook following, but he’s got an eye that’s going to take him places.

11 – Lindsay Adler – 26

Lindsay Adler is an energetic and passionate fashion photographer living in New York and London where she teaches photo workshops, create editorials, write articles, and pursue her passions. Some of the concepts that she’s come up with on her website are really interesting, and her work should help to inspire you to create some interesting photography yourself. Her work has been published in various magazines and in her 26 years, she’s really managed to establish herself.

12 – Mark Jaworski

I’m not entirely sure how old Mark is, but I would guess he’s in his early 20’s. I asked on a forum who were people’s favourite young photographers, and his name cropped up in the mix, and after seeing this photo, I couldn’t really not include him. Some people may not quite get the photo, much like the Rhein II (the most expensive photo in the world) is misunderstood, but I see something much more in it. I think that like most photographers, he struggles to find a clear focus for his photography, but I see a huge amount of potential here.

13 – Karrah Kobus – 21

I think that Karrah, the 21 year old conceptual portrait artist and event photographer, sums herself up better than I ever could:

“one day i woke up with a dream. i wanted to be a photographer. and ever since march 24th, 2010, that is all i have been.

ive chased the sunrise across fields with my lover. ive spent an evening capturing dragonflies, and watching them fly back to freedom through the sky. ive waded through lakes, with just my camera peeking above the waves. ive driven across the country to meet perfect strangers, and bathed in waterfalls after covering myself in mud. ive spent countless nights, mornings, and afternoons running around aimlessly, and just because i have my camera, everything was, and always will be, ok.

sometimes i feel like photographers have uncovered a special secret. a crazy, amazing, and beautiful secret. the key to truly living. all i want is to be alive. ”

14 – Ailera Stone – 20

Ailera is a 20 years old photographer from Vilnius, Lithuania, who is now living and studying photography in London, United Kingdom. For a student her portfolio is incredible and it was actually the photo that you see below on her home page which made me fall in love with her photography. If you’ve got some time, really go and explore her website. “I always liked to escape into other worlds through books, movies and music, but I found out that the best way to do that is by taking pictures. My photography is a way to capture moments and make them magical, bring the dreams into this world.”

15 – Servan Ilyne – 24

Servan is from Brussels, and seeing as I don’t speak French, it’s hard for me to learn too much about him, at least from what he’s written. The quality of his photography speaks for itself, especially when it comes to originality. This is probably my favourite album of his because it seems to be quite a personal expression of his own personal style and taste, almost like a slightly crazy fashion album. It’s good photography with a playful mix of colour and creativity. I look forward to what else he has to share with us.

16 – Cameron Rad – 20ish

Cameron is a photographer who seems to work entirely with natural light, which I really admire, because he hasn’t needed any extra gear to take these amazing photos. I like the idea of not venturing into flash photography before you’ve mastered shooting without, and that’s what Cameron seems to have done. That’s resulted in very natural photos with a dash of lens flare here and there for good measure. I’m a big fan of his style, and he seems to have mastered it at a very young age. Check out this photo.

17 – Floriane Caux – 23

Florine is a French photographer who divides her time between France and England, where she works as a fashion, event, portrait, and wedding photographer. Her portfolio demonstrates that she had an eye for abstract and fine art photography, not just fashion and portrait. She’s not afraid to play with different angles or interesting locations as she thinks outside of the box. This is one of my favourite photos of her’s. 

18 – Faye Sampson – 21

Faye Sampson is a 21 year old internationally published fashion photographer and first class degree graduate from London. She has already produced over twenty editorials for magazine publications and many more online features and interviews. I started following her on Facebook a few weeks ago and to be honest, I thought it was the work of a much more experienced photographer, not someone who began teaching themselves photography just three years ago at aged 18. From some of her behind the scene photos, you can clearly see she spends a lot of time retouching her photos, but she does it so well, you barely even notice, and it only adds to already great photography. Check this one out.

19 – Matt Eich – 25

Matt says it best when he says “His work is rooted in memory, both personal and collective and he strives to approach every photograph with a sense of intimacy.  He believes that stories are the fabric of history and that they have the power to inform and transform. While he has worked on five continents, Matt’s images focus on his own back yard, often exploring communities, the issues they face and their sense of identity.” This was one of those situations where you’re not really that blown away by someone’s work, and then you start to look a little deeper into the photos and see something more than you’ve seen before. He has this amazing ability to capture a moment, where the picture says it all. Spend some time and browse his site. Seriously.

20 – Matthew Lloyd

Matthew is a freelance editorial and portrait photographer based in London, working for The Times, Getty Images and Bloomberg, alongside various corporate clients. His work has been published all across the world in various publications, and if you have a look at his portfolio, you’ll be quite surprised by some of the people he’s photographed. From an ex Prime Minister to winner of best restaurant in the world, he certainly has taken photos of a lot of very important people. It’s not just me who thinks he’s good either, he’s won three different awards for young photographer of the year before.

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Top 20 Young Photographers 2012Thank you for reading my post, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

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    • Over 300 presets to instantly transform your photography
    • Simple video tutorials to make amazing adjustments easy
    • Get that 'professionally processed look' in seconds

Enter 'expertphotog' at the checkout to save $15!

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69 thoughts on “Top 20 Young Photographers 2012

  1. rosie

    My two favourites ones are definitely the two youngest, Nirrimi and Alexandra Sophie. Did you know both are even already mothers? By the way, is there any order in the way you placed everyone or you just wrote number from 1 to 20 randomly?

      1. rosie

        Ok! Well, I also wanted to say that if the number one have that much “likes”, it’s because he have been added as an admin of a page for teens where there is more than 300000, and he keeps spamming everyone for them to come on his own page. No jealousy here, just saying!

  2. Lucie

    It is so good to see such strong, young people achieving their dreams and accomplishing big things. This is a very inspiring blog post. Congratulations Josh!

  3. Donotagree

    That’s way unfair, there are a lot of amazing photographer who are not in this list. You should add “in my opinion” in the title, it would be more honest.
    And honestly I don’t think that David olkarny deserve the 1st rank.

    1. Josh Post author

      If you read the introduction, I make it pretty clear the process of how I found and ranked these people. David’s fan have nothing to do with his rank. Unfortunately there’s no forumla for ranking photographers that I can follow, so I just went by my own personal taste and experience. What do you think about the rest of the list?

  4. Donotagree

    “rosie Reply January 6, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Ok! Well, I also wanted to say that if the number one have that much “likes”, it’s because he have been added as an admin of a page for teens where there is more than 300000, and he keeps spamming everyone for them to come on his own page. No jealousy here, just saying!”

    Thank you rosie! I’ve notice exactly the same thing. He spend his time to spam people on facebook instead of actually working on his photographs…

  5. Maggie Gardner

    I think this is a wonderful article no matter what anyone else thinks, it has motivated me to be better with my art and that is what personally counts. Art is SO subjective that of course people are going to all have different opinions as to who is best etc, but I think this is a very kind thing to publish. It is nice to see you judged people by their art and not by their personality – some talented people are the most tedious characters. :P

  6. Luke

    Brilliant list Josh, some really inspiring photography and characters! Good to see what other young photographers are getting up to and where it’s taking them.

  7. Paul

    Very useful list, thanks! I’m going to take my time to browse through… 75% of these names are new to me.

    One of my favourite young togs (who probably made your long list) is Rockie Nolan. Worth checking out.

  8. Robert

    Great list of amazing photographers. BUT. yeah that had to be there didn’t it … but as far as I can see every single person on here is mainly a portrait photographer and that style of shooting people (especially the ones that know they are having a photo taken)turns me off. I personally don’t have a single picture of a person in my ‘best of’ shots and prefer to bring character into the things that did not have it. tl;dr Great list, not my style of photog.

  9. Taylor

    Surprised not to see Luc Coiffait on here!
    From what I remember, didn’t he help Lara jade with her career?
    He is 20 or something and now shoots for GQ, vogue , Marie Claire etc!

  10. Katy

    I’m completly agree with Rosy! David is a very good photographer but not the Best. And they miss other photographer in this list as Julie de Waroquier, Matthieu Soudet or JustineJ (Culdepoule)…

  11. djordje

    Kitty Gallannaugh is personaly for me,the best photographer.She makes a photos with pasion,magic and love!!! Lare Jade is very good too.
    But I think that David is great photographer,but not the best!

  12. Stuart

    This is a great list of known and unknown talent.

    Of course there are plenty of other equally amazing photographers that should of appeared but from the selection but it does cover many different styles of photography. The problem is many people seem disappointed that certain photographers with similar styles did not appear, the author simply selected this favourites and well justified.

    Instead of people being jealous and complaining, we should celebrate the creativity of all young professionals.

  13. Laurent

    Great article, really !
    I already knew some of them (like David Olkarny and Alexandra Sophie) but thanks to you, I discovered new inspiring people, thanks again.

    If I may, I suggest that you check the work of Michael Ferire ( : he’s a young photographer from Brussels and works sometimes with David Olkarny. His work deserves to be seen.
    Don’t hesitate to tell me what you thought about it.

  14. Suzy

    Why is so many people jealous? How ugly for them to be… I think this list is PERFECT! People who do not think so as well should not comment to be mean, we each entitled to opinions and Josh is too.

  15. Michelle

    Wow! This makes me so depressed to see so many young people excelling with their lives! When I was their age I was still out partying and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and now I wish I had half as much drive as they obviously do! I particularly now admire the work of Karrah, Brooke & Floriane. :)

  16. layzieyez

    Music on photo websites are the worst. Couldn’t get the music to turn off on your favorite pick. From what I could see before the music chased me away, I was unconvinced. Lara Jade and Joey L top this list for me.

  17. Nicole S Leaf

    Lots of beautiful photographers! <3 I LOVE Kitty And Lara Jade! But I think you all should check out these two photographers! They are my favorite :)

    Anne Marthe Widvey Photography

    Anastasia Volkova Photography

    They take amazing images! And Anne Marthe Widvey Photography, takes digital and film images!

    Best regains <3 Nicole

  18. Melissa

    Why do you guys put emphasis on whether a photographer is self taught or not? I see no value in that to be honest. However they learned is equally great as long as the visual outcome is great, which some of these are. I only felt inspired by one or two of the listed photographers. Thanks for the list!

  19. Denise D

    Josh ~ thanks for putting together this list of amazing photogs!! I love seeing other’s art. And for those of you that dont’t like his list, make your own. We can’t be all and do all for all people.

  20. Yohti Jenkins

    Josh made it quite clear the ranking was in his opinion… Stop having a go about it and having a go at number one and just enjoy the awesomeness of all the talent on here… It’s wonderful to see and I think some of you are missing the point totally!
    Good on you Josh for doing this. It’s lovely to see so many young and extremely talented newbies…

  21. Saskia Van Der Lingen

    I was a fashion editor years ago, starting at U.S Vogue (as an assistant to Polly Mellen), then went on to be fashion editor at Details when it was an underground magazine and then was the fashion editor in chief of “Taxi” magazine in the 80’s. I will be in NYC on May 3rd for six days, putting together an online magazine. I have many great former editors involved. We are getting together as group to get it up and running. Looking for young Fashion and feature photographers with a distinctive, innovative eye. Young, talented writers. Please contact me.
    Many thanks,

  22. Eliyata Daniel

    My son name is Eliyata Daniel.He start photographing at the age of two,know he is a four years old African photographer.He use Nikon D80 professional camera.Hewant to upload his photos on your website.You can read more about him on Google “Eliyata Daniel ” on YouTube “Youngest Ethiopian Photographer and his website
    Please comment him and support him

  23. Rama

    This is a great list especially when it comes to the conceptual/portrait genres. I do second the opinion above that seeing a list the doesn’t only take into consideration shooting people would be nice. It seems like the photographers that shoot people get the most clout in any of these fine art discussions but very little credence is given to photographers that make something other than a person as the main subject. This is not a condemnation of your article, in fact I think the people that you have mentioned are really pushing the bar as young photographers and this list is well put together.

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