Fantasy Photographers You Need to Follow

Fantasy Photographers You Need to Follow

Some of these photographers are well known in the industry, and others are climbing the ladder of recognition, but all of them have something incredible to offer the genre of fantasy photography.

Not long ago I put out a request: I wanted people to tell me who their favorite fantasy photographers were. I received so many names that I had to write them all down and search through them just to narrow the list down. Originally, I had planned on sharing what I thought were the top ten, but so many of the recommended photographers blew me away with their skill and vision that I had to rethink my approach to this article. Instead of the top ten, you’re going to get a genre breakdown with some of the most incredible photographers from each group.

For the purpose of this article, I define fantasy photography as photography that includes fantastical or surreal elements with the goal of transporting viewers out of the “regular world.” Just like any genre, fantasy photography has sub-genres within it. Not all of these sub-genres have a proper name, since the whole concept is rather nebulous and blurs several boundaries, but they can be pretty easily described.

Ethereal 

These first photographers fall within what may be the most common subgenre in fantasy photography, at least the one that comprised the most recommendations, which I will call “ethereal women.” While each photographer has their own voice, their main body of work consists of ethereally beautiful women in extravagant costumes and extraordinary locations. The resulting images often look like they’ve been taken from the pages of a fairy tale storybook. 

Bella Kotak

Kotak is a photographer at the epitome of this part of the genre, with work that is meticulously styled and often sits solidly in the realm of fine art.

Ironika Photographer

Lillian Liu

Liu’s work is fulled with fantastical drama and otherworldly beauty, often looking almost as much like an illustration as a photograph.

Agnieszka Lorek

Kirsty Mitchell

Famous for the Wonderland series honoring her late mother, Mitchell’s work is a tour de force that is highly personal, with each photo crafted by her from the concept to the elaborate costumes and props.

Grace Almera

Cheryl Walsh

Walsh has the world of underwater fantasy on lock, with dreamlike photographs that are a feast for the eyes. 

Hannah Dare Walker

Walker isn’t just a photographer, but also a designer who creates mind bending costumes by hand, often requiring months of intensive work for pieces that are works of art in their own right.

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I am humbled with awe and shock and then jumping to the skies with joy. I found out this morning that one of my photo's has been chosen as one of the 25 Photography Finalists of the 2019 Beautiful Bizarre Art Prize! The caliber of artists that enter this competition blows my mind and I feel so honored to have one of my photos selected to compete alongside these talented photographers....this is surreal. https://beautifulbizarreartprize.art/photography-finalists-announced/ I cannot thank Beautiful Bizzarre enough for this great honor. I also would like to thank my amazing team, Mo Moxie of Moxieglam Make-up Artistry and Model Emilee West and to my family that helped on location to make this dream photoshoot happen. I love my Nikon and Profoto lights...they always perform beautifully. Photographer, Props, Set, Crown and Cape Designer, Hair: Hannah Dare Walker https://www.facebook.com/artist.hannahdarewalker/ https://www.instagram.com/hannahdarewalker/ Model: Emilee West www.instagram.com/officialemileewest https://m.facebook.com/EmileeWestOfficial/ Make-up: Moxieglam Make-up Artistry www.facebook.com/moxieglam www.instagram.com/moxieglam Felted Fabric and Felted Dress: Patricia Garrison of Twigsimmortalized https://www.etsy.com/shop/Twigsimmortalized?ref=ss_profile. #profotob1 #profotob2 #nikond810photography #nikon_photo #surreal #fairy #fairyqueen #@hannahdarewalker #moxieglammakeupartistry #officialemileewest #beautifulbizarre

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Genre Bender

Rebecca Millen

Millen’s work mixes portrait photography with digital art and falls somewhere between conceptual/surreal and ethereal. Her work in distinct, striking, and highly artistic.  

Conceptual/Surreal

These photographers all have work that hints at a broader story or concept, but still contain fantastical or surreal elements, often including digital manipulation to assist in telling the story. 

Brooke Shaden

Master conceptual photographer, Shaden needs no introduction from me.

Renee Robyn

Known for fantastical, imaginative composites, this list wouldn't be complete without Robyn. 

Karen Jerzyk

Elaborate sets, unexpected elements, complex concepts, Jerzyk’s work is a tour de force.

Bryan Huynh

In a word: otherworldly.

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Hunter Schafer for Paper Magazine x Euphoria

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Benjamin Von Wong

Von Wong specializes in larger than life projects aimed at making a positive impact in the world. 

Colin Anderson

Work that is imaginative and narrative in nature with a commercial appeal.

Kelly Robitaille

Known for her Whimsy Waifs, Robitaille’s signature is highly illustrative and original.

Alex Stoddard

Almost understated compared to some of the other entries, but enthralling. Like a dream that could have been real.

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25/31. Blood in the Water

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Bekka Bjorke

From 3D to photography, Bjorke has her hand in imagery that ranges from one end of the genre to the other but always feels highly narrative.

Dark

I don’t want to say these photographers are out to scare you, although some of them definitely are, but on the whole these images are much darker in tone if not always in subject matter. Some of them deal with difficult emotional issues, such as loneliness or abandonment, and others simply showcase the macabre in compelling way.

Pauline Goyard

Emotive and masterfully edited, these are works of art. Even when they give you the creeps.

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I had the idea for this visual a few months ago : I was feeling trapped in a life that was not suited for me anymore. It was actually my body that screamed the loudest, and after a few health issues (that made me feel just like the picture above! Shitty days for sure!) I decided it was time for a change. So the last couple of months I was busy selling ALL my belongings (an exhausting journey if you ask!), and closing my portrait studio. All of this to pursue a (not so) new project, a dream that was always there but was too shy to exist : I will be living a nomadic life around the world (because I always wanted to live by the sea!), and most importantly I will do my best and make a living out of my creative work ONLY! I am equally excited and terrified by what’s to come, but I know anything is possible, and I have confidence in the future and in my legendary luck 😛 The good news is, more articles on the blog about photography and creativity are to come soon because I will have plenty of time for them from now on!! I am wishing you all the best, and I can’t waaait to create some more crazy stuff and share them with you soon!! What about you, do you pay attention to your body and to your internal struggle? Or do you tend to ignore them until you crash? (I am from a family who ignores just everything so that was not easy!!) PLEIN DE BISOUS! ❤️ Model @your_foolishness - - - #creativityfeature#phlearn#famousbtsmag#strangertonez#discoveredit#xceptionaledits#design_hunt#creativitychasers#competencephoto#rencontresarles#learnphotography#photographycourse#photographyworkshop#photography101#photographytips

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Nona Limmen

Sometimes stark, sometimes disturbing, Limmen’s work is always compelling.

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When men tell me to smile more.

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Ashley Joncas

Christopher McKenney

Clever, often painful to look at, McKenney’s work rides the line between nightmarish and though provoking.

Chad Michael Ward

Fashion

These photographers are well known in the fashion industry, but they always include an unexpected element of whimsy or surrealism that gives their work a decided fantasy edge. 

Tim Walker

Eugenio Recuenco

Commerical

Erik Almas

There may be no commercial photographer as well known for flights of imaginative fancy as Erik Almas. Granted, his work doesn't always stray into the fanciful, but when it does, it's epic.

Cosplay

These Cosplay photographers refuse to settle for boring backgrounds or flat lighting. They go the extra mile to create fantastical worlds for their subjects to inhabit. 

Kira Mitenkova

Dustin Valkema

Fantasy photography is my favorite flavor of photography because the only boundaries are the photographers imagination and skill. Looking at a fantasy photograph is a reminder that each of us live within the realm of our imaginations, and in that land anything is possible.

Who are your favorite fantasy photographers? 

Lead image by Nicole York, Model: Jason Klein 
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40 Comments

Previous comments
Crystal Johnson's picture

By marketing and networking with like-minded clients that are within these specific genres. Yes, we can. Yes, they do. It's the same as a photographer in the wedding sector or one that solely shoots commercial product work.

Hi Aury! to answer your question, I am a full time photographer : I am an art director as well and I often work for the music industry to create brandings and artworks for musicians I also shoot portraits (because I love it and darkness can be exhausting :D !), I do commercials jobs, and I even sell prints from time to time! :)

you guys need to add @alterimago he is a Mexican artist who is specialized in dark beauty .

Jess Hess's picture

I would be thrilled for you to take a look at my work. <3
https://www.flickr.com/photos/wurmwoodphotography/albums/72157696416910412

Also, as far as dark photographers go Blind 7 Photography is seriously top-notch. He's been around forever and I was surprised to not see him on this list.

Nicole York's picture

Thanks for sharing, your portraits are super cool!

Mary Bel's picture

I love the light being shed on these not only photographers, but digital artists as well. Im a self portrait artist, and was wondering, how does one get discovered in order to land on articles such as these? There is certainly a niche for photography that bring awareness, reflection and art all in one...thank you for spreading the love of for these talented photographers.

I'm confused. Just a few days before this article, another was posted on the site regarding embedding copyrighted photos in tweets. The individual sued and the courts ruled that by posting to his content, it was copyright infringement. The article was essentially praising this individual for going after publications for using his photos and then there's this list. Isn't this essentially the same thing seeing as how it's also used to drive site traffic? The article in question: https://fstoppers.com/legal/photographer-who-won-copyright-case-over-emb...

Laura Sheridan's picture

So awesome to see many familiar names and some new names I haven't heard about yet! Always awesome to discover new talent.