Finding great photography beyond Instagram

For a whole generation of photographers, Instagram has become the default channel for finding and viewing inspiring photography. But convenient as it is, the social media platform can fall short at delivering the best work. The original curators of the photography world will still show you the work that Instagram won’t.  

Instagram is not designed to help you find work that is the most critically acclaimed, commercially successful, or artistically inspiring. It is designed for one goal, and one goal only: to make you spend more time on your phone so the app can serve you ads. This is the company’s singular mission, and it doesn’t care whether it achieves this with great photography, so-so photography, or cat videos. The result of all this is that for the photography lover, Instagram can leave some of the world’s most accomplished work underexposed. 

On top of that, Instagram dictates that artists edit and format their work to help them in their mission. New posts have to appear regularly, so larger bodies of work get chopped up into bite sized pieces. There is no place for a well curated portfolio overview or image archive. There is no place for longer series or photo essays. And because the order of posts can not be edited, anything that was posted more than a few months ago is relegated to the bottom of a long scroll – if it is shown at all.

Thankfully, there are organisations that make it their business to find the world’s very best photographers and present them online. Contrary to Instagram, their business model is not built around keeping you on your device. It is built around finding the very best artists whose work can sell prints, books, products, or magazines. I will list 50 of these organisations below. Each one of these will show you between between ten and fifty amazing photographers, for a total running in the hundreds.

And yes of course, you could use these links to find new photographers to follow on Instagram. But for a better experience, I recommend that you (also) seek out the individual photographers’ websites and bookmark them. You will see the work as the photographer intended it to be seen online, in the form of larger images, complete essays, and a more carefully curated selection. And as a bonus, you will break free from the grip of Mark Zuckerberg for at least some of your photography viewing needs. 

Photojournalism Agencies

Magnum Photos
VU’ l’agence
Contact Press
Moment Agency
Middle East Images

Fashion Photography Agencies

Art and Commerce
Art Partner
Webber Represents
Management Artists
Walter Schupfer

Advertising Photography Agencies

Wyatt Clarke Jones
Emeis Deubel
Claxton Projects
Rose Paris
Laird & Good Company
Soderberg Agentur

Photo Book Publishers

Twin Palms

Photography Galleries

Howard Greenberg
Michael Hoppen Gallery
Fahey / Klein Gallery
Jackson Fine Art
Fraenkel Gallery
Camera Work
Photo Gallery International
VU La Galerie
Galerie Catherine & André Hug
The Ravesteijn Gallery