Famous Photographers Pose Behind Their Iconic Images

Unless you’re a photography buff, you probably have no idea what the people behind some of the most famous photos in the world actuall look like. US photographer Tim Mantoani, however, aims to fix all that with his epic “Behind Photographs” series.

It all started in 2006, when Mantoani rented a 20×24 Polaroid camera (itself an extraordinary rarity), which weighs 235 pounds (106kg) and has its own custom wheeled tripod. “The cameras are very unique and render an image of 20×24 images once the film is ‘peeled apart,’” Mantoani told Bored Panda. “Since renting the camera was expensive, I wanted shoot something that was important to myself and I called a couple of photographers that I knew, legendary music shooter, Jim Marshall and sports shooter, Michael Zagaris.

The process for both myself and subjects was special and I knew I was onto something, as the viewer could appreciate both the photograph and photographer in a single image,” he told Bored Panda. “I also had each of them write about their photograph on the bottom of the print.  From there, I began to approach other photographers, shooting from California to Boston, and over a period of five years recorded over 150 photographers on this format.

More info: behindphotography.com | mantoani.com | Amazon (h/t: designtaxidemilked)

Steve McCurry: Peshawar, Pakistan 1984. I looked for this girl for 17 years and finally found her in 2002. Her name is Sharbat Gula.

Jeff Widener – Beijing 1989


Harry Benson – The Beatles

Harry Benson: Brian Epstein – Beatles Manager – had just told them they were number one in America – and I was coming with them to New York. 1964


Lyle Owerko – 9/11

Lyle Owerko: No one knew such beautiful warm day would serve as the backdrop to one of the most painful and confusing events to the heart of mankind. This picture is one small part of such a huge event that ties the threads of thousands of stories and millions of people together. Written words will never convey the whole scope of the event, nor summarize the sounds, the smells or even voices that are frozen in my memory bank from that day. I did the best job I could in photographing the 9/11 so that future generations would have the idea of the scope of what happened, to have the evidence how innocence can so easily be snatched away in a razor’s edged moment in time. My hope is that in time the wounds and pain will heal and that wisdom and peace will prevail among the darkness of this event, so that humanity could move forward into a time of grace and understanding.

Marry Ellen Mark – Ringmaster With Elephant

Marry Ellen Mark: I am holding my photograph of Ram Prakash Singh and his beloved elephant Shyama – taken in 1990. Ram Prakash Singh was the ringmaster of “The Great Golden Circus” – this photograph was done in Ahmedabad, India – This was part of my Indian Circus Project. I love India and I love the circus, so photographing eighteen circuses all around India was an incredible experience. Unfortunately Shyama died a few months after this photograph was taken – supposedly, he succumbed to poisoned chapatti – Ram Prakash Singh was heartbroken – me also.


Thomas Mangelsen – Brown bear

Thomas Mangelsen: Brown bear, Brooks Falls Katmai National Park, Alaska. July 1988. I pre-visualized this possibility (of an image like this) from watching documentary films about the bears at Katmai and seeing a photograph in Alaska Air Magazine of a group of bears here at the falls. At the time, I was on a flight to Anchorage working on a documentary film about Sandhill Cranes and had a week between shoots. I phoned the park headquarters from the airport in Achorage and asked about getting a campsite. They said they were all full – except for one site, that was near the bear trail and nobody wanted it. I told them I would take it. I spent a week on a small platform above the falls trying to captures this image. I would go most days before sunrise and stay until dark. During that time I shot 35 rolls of film of pretty much just head + shoulders of bears + sockeye salmon leaping the falls. Six weeks later I opened the yellow box to see this image. It was a nice surprise. I hadn’t known that I got it.

David Doubilet – Circle Of Barracuda



May Pang – John Lennon

May Pang: Summer 1974 Long Island Sound NY. A relaxing time with his son Julian. I called this photo “Family Portrait”

Neil Leifer – Ali vs. Liston

Neil Leifer: Ali vs. Liston – May 25, 1965, Lewiston, Maine

Vincent Laforet – Me And My Human


Bob Gruen – John Lennon


Elliott Erwitt – Two Dogs With Owner


Lori Grinker – Mike Tyson


Nick Ut – Napalm Attack In Vietnam


Herman Leonard – Jazz Musicians


Douglas Kirkland – Marilyn Monroe


Carl Fischer – Muhammad Ali