The Big Fat List of Documentaries About Photography


Want to watch a non-fiction film about photography? Here’s a list of documentaries (and some other stuff) concerning photography that I’ve collected over the years.




Films By Photogs



  • Bring Your Own Doc: A conversation with director Jeff Malmberg about Marwencol – YouTube
  • Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography 2012 – YouTube
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson Interviewed by Charlie Rose – YouTube
  • Inside Media: The President's Photographer – YouTube
  • James Nares – STREET – Lecture – Vimeo
  • Joel Meyerowitz 1981 Street Photography Program – YouTube
  • Magnum Photos – Earthlings by Richard Kalvar – YouTube
  • Magnum Photos – Personal Best by Elliott Erwitt – YouTube
  • ‪Mark Feeney: "Four Photographers on Three Wheels: William Eggleston's Tricycle and Before"‬ – YouTube
  • Peter Fraser 2011 talk on his work and workshop assignment – Vimeo
  • Sarah Moon is a Master of Photography (from Contacts) – YouTube

Feel free to suggest any films we’ve left off the list in the comments below.

About the author: Wirjo Hardjono is a photography enthusiast who enjoys finding and watching films about photography. This article originally appeared here.

Image credit: film-reel by eelke dekker, Be Kind Rewind film reel by seafaringwoman

  • Pav

    “Rock N Roll exposed, the photography of Bob Gruen” – Just caught this on Showtime. Good stuff.

  • PabloZotalis

    “The Bang Bang Club”
    According to imdb
    A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers
    capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.

  • Guest

    I watched “Born into Brothels” last night. “Born into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids is a 2004 American documentary film about the children of prostitutes in Sonagachi, Kolkata’s red light district” They teach photograph to the children as a way to document life. They sell their prints to help fund their education.

  • jgcorrea

    If I may add, “America and Lewis Hine” (1984)

  • geodesigner

    BBC’s “Master Photographers” series from 1983 is awesome too!

  • Mike B

    Great list! I would add/suggest – The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams’ Appalachia (2002).

    I also saw an amazing documentary about Robert Capa many years ago at Seattle International Film Festival. Unfortunately, it never made it to theaters or DVD.

  • Melka

    Wirjo Hardjono posted this list as an original content on Reddit.

    Why is it such a shame to give credit to Reddit when we can see that many of your posts come from there ?

  • Melka

    Well, i apologize, you put the link.

    I see myself out and will buy a pair of glasses.

  • Nuno Cruz

    Now this is a post :)

  • Bill Bartlett

    “Arakimentari” (2005) is a fascinating study of Nobuyoshi Araki; while “Eloquent Nude” (2007) is a most touching portrait of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson.

  • 写真家

    you beat me to it

  • Jason Paul Roberts

    I would add “W. Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult”

  • Tom

    Wild Photo Adventures with Doug Gardner on PBS

  • Julie

    Jazz Seen: The Life and Times of William Claxton – 2001

  • Ren

    “Blow Up” 1966. Michel Angelo Antonioni. Photography and existentialism..

  • Sven

    I would add: Jock Sturges – Line of Beauty, Grace and Spencer Tunick – Naked States.

  • Eziz

    I’d also recommend BBC series The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn

  • Benicio Murray

    Off to PirateBay to find a bunch of these. Thanks for linking this awesome list

  • Thomas Casey

    Lee Miller Through The Mirror is a good one that isn’t on the list.

  • xbakerx

    Shooting Robert King is on Netflix

  • Greg Davis

    In the Shadow of the House- Abelardo Morell
    Somewhere to Disappear- Alec Soth

  • AgNO3

    Awesome let me know when I can steal your work also.

  • Guest


  • Madeup Maidenname

    Adding “Half Past Autumn” The Gordan Parks story to add some much needed color to the list…lol. Great film.

  • jmco

    Skip the BBC documentary on Vivian Maier. A local TV station in Chicago has done three short videos that do a much better job on the subject. Starting with this one in 2011 then two follow ups in 2012.

  • Elle

    Weird..I had been trying to find a list of photography doc’s all weekend. Thanks so much for this

  • Ringo Speed

    Helmut by June – mostly notable for the fact that the only time you see June is in a mirror.

  • olafs_osh

    wow. the doc about Ervin Olaf was a surprisingly good and moving. health issues later into film gives so much weight to it. [started to watch it only because he has the same name as me, actually].

  • MacManCapeCod

    Don’t miss “EYE on the SIXTIES: the Iconic Photography of Rowland Scherman” by Chris Szwedo. Appearing on PBS later this year, EYE on the SIXTIES chronicles the work of the photographer Judy Collins calls, “simply the best in America”. Scherman was there to capture all of the most famous figures and events of that tumultuous decade, from JFK to MLK to LBJ, from the Beatles to Bob Dylan. He shot the cover photo of Dylan’s Greatest Hits and was on stage at Woodstock for LIfe Magazine. Scherman was the official photographer for the 1963 civil rights March on Washington where Dr. King made his “I Have A Dream” speech; his images are in the National Archives. See: and for more on this memorable film.

  • Ronald Blumer

    We did a three part series, American Photography, A Century of Images for PBS

  • David

    The Mother Project, about Tierney Gearon, is a great photo documentary.

  • Omar

    Everybody Street by Cheryll Dunn.

    featuring : Bruce Davidson , Elliott Erwitt, Jill Freedman, Bruce Gilden,
    Joel Meyerowitz, Rebecca Lepkoff, Mary Ellen Mark, Jeff Mermelstein,
    Clayton Patterson, Ricky Powell, Jamel Shabazz, Martha Cooper, Jeff
    Mermelstein, and Boogie, with Max Kozloff and Luc Sante.

  • Loch

    Sally Mann<3

  • Serge Van Cauwenbergh

    Armadillo is missing from your list:

  • AG

    Robert Capa: Love and War, on youtube

  • S.H

    The rare and amazing “Shadows from Light” by Stephen Dwoskin (1983)… One of the most beautiful film on photography imho

  • Brynjulf Bjarnem

    Rivers and tides – Andy Goldsworthy!
    It’s on youtube. Not necessarily only abot photography. But he uses it to document his art. A nice film.

  • Michael Nagin

    Now if only you can do a similar list of photographer’s memoirs I’d be set…..

  • Terry Clark

    Fantastic film about Anton Corbijn, until episode five when either Sony or EMI blocked it. Scum suckers, it was a great tribute to an intense artist up to that point. Anyone know of a way to find this film somewhere other than on YouTube?

  • Yardley Gaboin

    Dreamgirls – The photographs of Guy Bourdin.

  • INGH

    In No Great Hurry – 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter

  • petra

    thanks for sharing! great collection. petra

  • Andreas Dyrdal

    “The Cambodian Room – Situations with Antoine D’Agata”. Doc about Magnum photographer D’Agata…

  • Jonathan Levin

    “A Great Day In Harlem” based on a photograph of Art Kane’s. A gathering of the greatest jazz musicians in NY at the tome.

  • jerrylazar

    “Deadline Every Second: On Assignment with 12 AP Photographers” by Ken Kobre (2011)

  • blewis

    PBS – The War in Iraq, Through Photographers’ Eyes was pretty good.

  • John

    Stephen Poliakoff’ ‘Shooting the Past’ should be on your list too.

  • TN

    Thank you =]

  • Photo Teach

    thank you! I am a photography teacher and this is great!!!

  • David Shannon

    What about Time Zero: The Last Year Of Polaroid?