More on FAQ #2004

2004. Who doesn’t make this website’s list of “100 famous photographers”?

There are three main categories of photographers who aren’t listed on the “100 famous photographers” list:

1. Photographers who aren’t famous (or who didn’t fit on the list, which is limited to roughly 100 names by its title).

2. Photographers who are famous but are known primarily for photographs that are universally regarded as “doctored” (e.g., Jerry Uelsmann, Andreas Gursky, Scott Mutter). See “B” of question #2005.

3. Photographers who are famous but were involved in a prominent photo-manipulation controversy that jeopardized viewer trust.

#3 isn’t for punitive reasons; it’s a preventive measure to keep the list from being less credible in the eyes of those who only know the photographer through the single controversy.

Some of the greatest photographers of the past century are known to some people not for their tens of thousands of trusted photographs but for a small number of photographs that were the subject of a trust-related controversy.


Note that many — perhaps most — photographers create plenty of photographs that fully meet the Trust Checklist and plenty of photographs that don’t. There’s no rule that says photographers are limited to only one kind.

In fact, a few of the photographers on the “100” list (for example Ansel Adams) created some very popular photographs that would not qualify for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label.

Most of those photographers were both proud of those images and candid about how they were manipulated (Adams wrote entire books explaining how he manipulated the “light”-related aspects of his photographs — and noted that in one popular photograph he even manipulated a non-light-related aspect).

As long as a photographer’s non-TCQ photographs weren’t “controversial” and didn’t “jeopardize viewer trust” (see #3 above), the presence of non-TCQ photographs in that photographer’s life work doesn’t keep the photographer off the “Famous 100” list.

Anyone with any evidence that any photographer on the “Famous 100” list did NOT create “thousands” of photographs that would likely meet the TCQ Checklist is encouraged to contact If the evidence is corroborated, the name in question will be removed from the list.