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10 Contemporary Photographers to Watch in 2019

Marianne Stenger
18th March 2019

At its simplest, contemporary photography is a term used to describe photographs that were taken using modern methods. But truly, contemporary photography is about telling a story or eliciting some type of reaction in the viewer, be it good or bad.

It’s an exciting time for contemporary photography because as technology changes and evolves, contemporary photographers are constantly able to experiment with new techniques, mix different genres, and find ever more creative ways to express their ideas.

If you’re interested in learning more about contemporary photography, here are some of the contemporary photographers you should keep an eye on in 2019.

1. Matthew Lloyd

Matthew Lloyd is an editorial photographer based in Harrowgate, Yorkshire. His photography career started with national newspapers, but he soon turned his attention to more creative projects which earned him three prestigious Young Photographer of the Year awards.  

Lloyd specialises in natural reportage and environmental portraiture, and his style is distinctive whether he’s working on campaigns for big names like Johnnie Walker and Land Rover or his own personal photography projects. His work has been exhibited in London’s National Portrait Gallery and he has photographed the likes of Helen Mirren and Benedict Cumberbatch.

2. Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson is a British photographer based in Shoreditch, London. His work is a mixture of documentary and fashion photography, and he has a keen interest in capturing on camera the lives of those on the fringes of society, such as his series of portraits featuring female bodybuilders.

In 2017 he was named “One to Watch” by the British Journal of Photography, and in addition to his creative photography projects, he has shot fashion editorials for Dazed and Vogue, and worked with big brand names like Hermès and Burberry.

3. Silvia Grav

Silvia Grav is a Spanish artist, photographer, and director based in Los Angeles. Her work gained visibility after she was selected as one of Flickr’s “20 Under 20” photographers. Since then she has had her work exhibited all over the world and has worked with the likes of HBO and Lexus.

Grav shoots her personal projects mainly in black and white, and uses photographic manipulation to create dreamy and sometimes unsettling images that explore the impressions and feelings surrounding life and loss.  

4. Nadine Ijewere

London-born fashion photographer Nadine Ijewere started out with the intention of studying medicine, but soon realised that photography was her true passion. She recently made history by becoming the first female photographer of colour to shoot a cover of Vogue Magazine, and was also named one of the best emerging African photographers.

Early on in her career, she noticed that most images in fashion seemed to celebrate the same type of look, and made a conscious decision to challenge these stereotypes by casting models that fell outside the industry norm. For her most recent personal project, she travelled to her grandmother’s conservative hometown of Lagos, Nigeria to document how a younger generation is breaking free from the traditional style rules set by their elders.

5. Nicol Vizioli

Nicol Vizioli is an Italian-born London-based fine art and photographer. She studied cinema in Rome followed by fashion photography in London, and says her work is strongly influenced by her upbringing in Rome, where she was surrounded by ancient beauty, austerity, and also decadence.

Vizioli draws inspiration for her images from many different places, including the natural and animal world, mythology, literature, and paintings. In addition to her own creative projects, she has worked with Vogue Italia, King Kong Magazine, Mute Records, and many others.

6. Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi

Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi is a Romanian portrait photographer based in London. She won the Overall Youth competition of the Sony World Photography Awards in 2013, and has since had her work published by the likes of National Geographic and the Guardian.

Her initial images focused on Romanian culture and traditional styles of dress, but she now works on a wide variety of projects and recently provided coverage of the 2018 Bafta Craft Awards and the Bafta Film Awards 2019. Dragoi has also self-published a number of photo books as a way of telling important stories with her images. Her most recent photo book ‘Parallel Worlds’ looks at the difficult decisions immigrants make when they choose to leave their homeland in search of a better life.

7. Nick Hannes

Nick Hannes is a Belgian contemporary photographer and former photojournalist. After working as a photojournalist for eight years, he made the decision to commit to his own documentary projects which explore ideas of capitalism and globalisation.

One of these projects, a photo series titled ‘Garden of Delight’ looks at the contrasts of Dubai and its lifestyle, and won him the 2017 Magnum Photography Award. Hannes says most of his personal work has a strong political and social component, and deals with the problematic relationship we have with each other and our environment.

8. Evan James Atwood

Evan James Atwood is an American fine art and portrait photographer based in Portland. He discovered his passion for photography when he took on a 365-day photography challenge and began exploring self-portraiture. He was selected as one of Flickr’s “20 Under 20” photographers in 2014, and has since moved into filmmaking as well.

Atwood’s images are mysterious and often sombre, as he says he likes to represents the darker side of human emotions while working with natural elements such as water and vegetation.

9. Amy Lombard

Amy Lombard is a New York-based documentary photographer who explores the faces of contemporary American culture. Her strikingly colourful images have been featured by big names such as VICE, WIRED, Vanity Fair, and TIME.

Her latest photo book ‘Connected’ looks at Internet meetups and the state of community in an Internet age. She explains that we are constantly being told that technology is tearing us apart, and hopes that this photo series will make people question this by showing how technology can also bring people together in extraordinary ways.

10. Thomas Lohr

Thomas Lohr is a German fashion, portrait, and still-life photographer based in London. He studied photo design in Berlin, after which he moved to New York to work in the fashion industry.

After moving to London in 2010, he quickly became recognised for his modern and minimalistic yet detailed images, and has since worked with Vogue Germany, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and others.

In addition to fashion photography, however, Lohr enjoys tackling personal projects that give him more creative freedom, such as his series of abstract bird plumage photos which was turned into the photo book ‘Birds.’