As much as photographers distance themselves from their cameras, saying that it is merely a tool, photography as a whole is much more intertwined with technology than traditional art. Our cameras and our lenses set the boundaries of our perspectives. This is why, we’d thought it’d be interesting to look at some famous photographer’s favorite lenses.
We’ve compiled a list of 7 famous photographers. We wanted to see if there is a trend. Are 85mm lenses really the preferred portrait focal length or is it more marketing? Is the 24-70mm zoom really the industry workhorse? We wanted to see if there is reason behind the madness.
Henri Cartier-Bresson (50mm)
Genre: Street and Photojournalism
The father of photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson is a master of candid street photography and an early adopter of the 35mm format. He helped develop street photography back in the 1940s and 50s with his Leica rangefinder and a 50mm prime.
In an interview with the NY Times, he said:
“[The 50] corresponds to a certain vision and at the same time has enough depth of focus, a thing you don’t have in longer lenses. I worked with a 90. It cuts much of the foreground if you take a landscape, but if people are running at you, there is no depth of focus. The 35 is splendid when needed, but extremely difficult to use if you want precision in composition. There are too many elements, and something is always in the wrong place. It is a beautiful lens at times when needed by what you see.”