The 17 Best Documentaries About Photography

Jul 7, 2023 | Art, Best Of

Fashion photography has long been an art form that captures the hearts of many. It can be both glamorous and candid, with elaborate set-ups or spontaneous moments on the street. To better understand the people behind this creative medium, a range of documentaries have been produced to delve into their work and reveal more about them. From pioneers in fashion photography to those who are just getting started, these films offer an interesting insight into the world of fashion photography – giving viewers a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes.


1. Masters Of Photography: Diane Arbus

Dive into the fascinating world of Diane Arbus – one of the most renowned photographers in the 20th century. In this documentary, we explore her unconventional approach to capturing life’s most unexpected moments. From sexual deviants and strange persons on society’s periphery to ironic or surreal stances and scenarios, she photographed what many people would have turned away from. This program was produced as part of a large retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art that followed her career, providing insight into her unique style and vision.


2. BBC Omnibus Documentary

Are you interested in learning more about photography? This BBC Omnibus documentary is a great place to start. It features some of the best documentaries about photography, presented in a magazine-style by Barry Norman for one season. We also discuss how Roly Keating’s head of arts commissioning moved the show to BBC Two and Alan Yentob’s replacement programme Imagine. Learn all you need to know about photography with this informative documentary!


3. Documentary Photography Tips By Kevin Mullins

Have you ever wanted to capture the beauty and emotion of a wedding day in photographs? Documentary wedding photography is an art form that allows photographers to tell powerful stories through their images. In this video, Kevin Mullins shares his tips and tricks for creating stunning documentary photos. He also gives us insight into 17 of the best documentaries about photography from around the world! Learn how to become a master storyteller with your camera and create timeless memories that will last a lifetime.


4. Safari Of My Life – Wildlife Photography

This documentary follows wildlife photographer Klaus Tiedge on his journey in Kenya, a year after being diagnosed with cancer. His story is an inspiring one of never giving up and understanding the power of acceptance. He uses his safari as a way to cope with life’s obstacles and find solace in nature. Throughout the film, he faces challenges such as confronting problems and accepting change while appreciating life at its fullest. This video will show you how to take control over your own destiny no matter what life throws at you – it’s all about having the courage to move forward! Join Klaus on this heart-warming journey full of love, resilience, and strength!


5. Portrait

Explore the fascinating world of portraiture photography in this documentary. Learn about how portraits can convey a person’s image, personality and even mood. Discover some of the earliest examples of sculptural portraiture in art history with plastered human skulls from 9000 to 6000 BC that were uncovered during archaeological digs in the Middle East. See how prehistoric people took great care when burying their relatives under their dwellings, showing us just how important these works of art are to them.


6. Is Photography Art

Photography has long been recognized as an art form, with many famous and well-known photographers making their mark in the industry. But what exactly is photographic art? And how did it take so long for photography to be accepted as a legitimate form of creative expression? In this documentary, we explore the history of photography and its journey to becoming one of the classic seven forms of art. We also look at some amazing works from renowned photographers such as Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lang, Man Ray and Irving Penn. Join us on this fascinating journey through the world of photographic art!


7. William Klein: In Pictures

An exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the work of one of the twentieth century’s most influential photographers and filmmakers, William Klein. We’ll explore his experience shooting on the streets of New York, how he published his first book in that city, and what it was like to collaborate with Federico Fellini. Plus, get a sneak peek into his Paris studio! Be sure to check out the exhibition William Klein + Daido Moriyama at Tate Modern from October 10th – January 20th.


8. History Of American Photography

Photography is an art form that can capture the beauty of a moment in time. In this documentary, we explore the history of American photography and the photographers who helped to create it. We will look at some iconic images from early on in the medium’s history, as well as discuss why understanding our past is important for understanding what our lives mean to us. Join Marc Falzon of Analog Process as he takes you through this brief but informative journey into America’s photographic past!


9. Magnum Photos

Magnum Photos is a digital repository of over one million photographs, and it has recently been the centre of controversy. In this documentary, we investigate why their website was taken offline in August 2020 amid concerns about images containing nudity of minors and how they were labelled for searches. We also explore the implications that this had on photographers around the world and what it could mean for future photography projects. Join us as we take an in-depth look into this ongoing story!


10. Abstract: The Art Of Design

Are you interested in photography and design? Then this documentary series is for you! Netflix’s The Art of Design features some of the most talented designers from around the world. From illustrator Christoph Niemann to interior designer Ilse Crawford, these experts reveal their processes in creating stunning works of art. Get inspired by their stories and learn more about how they use photography as a tool for expressing themselves and conveying powerful messages. This must-watch series is sure to spark your creativity!


11. Peter Lindbergh: The Supermodel Photographer

Peter Lindbergh was a legendary photographer, renowned for his iconic images of supermodels and celebrities. He left us with a big gap when he passed away on September 3rd at the age of 74. This documentary takes an in-depth look into the life and works of this master photographer – from his classic black-and-white photographs to his commitment to not editing any of them, even going as far as getting people to sign agreements ensuring it. We also take a look into his personal life – including the four children and seven grandchildren he leaves behind.


12. Nat Geo: National Geographic The Photographers

If you’re a fan of National Geographic, then this documentary is for you! “The Photographers” takes viewers behind the scenes to meet the people who have dedicated their lives to capturing amazing images. Learn about the incredible challenges faced by these photographers, from malaria and parasitic worms to robbery and terrible conditions. And find out how many shots it took before digital cameras were available for them to get that one outstanding photo. If you want an insight into what goes on behind the lens at National Geographic – don’t miss this moving documentary!


13. Hints Of Life: Documentary Film About Fine Art Photographer/Urban Explorer Rebecca Bathory

Are you interested in the fascinating world of urban exploration? Follow Rebecca Bathory as she takes us on a journey to uncover the hidden gems of abandoned ruins and other artificial buildings. From storm drains to sewers, discover what secrets these places may hold while learning about the dangers that come with such an endeavor. Watch this documentary film for an exciting adventure into the unknown!


14. The Many Lives Of William Klein

William Klein is a unique American photographer who has made his mark on the world with an eclectic mix of photography, painting and filmmaking. Born in New York to a Jewish family, he found solace in art from a young age and eventually went on to study at the Sorbonne. His work has been featured in Vogue magazine as well as several iconic picture books such as Life is Good and Good for You in New York (1957) and Tokyo (1964). In addition to this, Klein also produced some impressive documentary films including Muhammed Ali: The Greatest (1969). His works have been showcased across many galleries around the world such as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago. This video will delve into William Klein’s life story that inspired him to become one of America’s most renowned photographers today!


15. Ansel Adams, Photographer

Ansel Adams was a true pioneer in the world of photography. His work defined an era and his impact is still felt today. In this documentary, we explore the life and legacy of Ansel Easton Adams, one of America’s most influential photographers. From his founding membership of Group f/64 to the development of the Zone Methodology, viewers will gain insight into how he crafted such iconic images with perfect precision and clarity. We’ll also look at how his photographs captured the beauty and grandeur of nature while advocating for environmental conservation. Join us as we delve into this fascinating artist’s life!


16. Joel Meyerowitz 1981 Street Photography

Joel Meyerowitz has a unique talent for capturing the beauty of everyday life in his street photography. This 1981 documentary takes viewers to New York City and provides an intimate look at one of the most acclaimed photographers of our time. Watch as Joel Meyerowitz captures stunning shots on the streets, giving us insight into his creative process and passion for photography.


17. Photographer Man Ray – A Film by Jean-Paul Fargier 1998

The influence of Man Ray’s photography and art is explored in this documentary. From his 42 years spent in the United States to his life in France, we chart his journey and take a deeper look into how he used photography as an expressive medium. In this 1932 self portrait, for example, the wrist watch serves as more than just a detail; it echoes the artist’s concentrated gaze marking the passage of time – something that all photographers understand to be integral to their craft.



Read On – Our Latest Top Documentaries Lists

David B