Alec Soth recently posed the question: “At What Age Do Photographers Do Their Most Influential Work?”

Alec Soth, a photographer and writer at Little Brown Mushroom, recently posed the question: “At What Age Do Photographers Do Their Most Influential Work?” A very interesting question indeed, and one that doesn’t cross the mind every day.

“Just about anybody who’s been in my company for the last couple of years has heard me yammer on about photography and aging. The best creative years for a photographer, I’d proclaim, are 20 to 40, but the peak is 25 to 35. Of course I’d mention the exceptions, but taken as a whole, photographic greatness seems to me to be a young person’s game.”

Read the rest of the article here, and let us know what you think. Is he right/wrong? Does it depend on other factors? When did you personally experience your best years, or are they still to come?

Ansel Adams photographed The Tetons and the Snake River in 1942, at the age of 40.


At What Age Do Photographers Peak?

  1. Art unlike sport has no age limit. Some of the greatest artists in history were working into their 80s and 90s. As long as you mental and creative ability is still there, age is no hurdle.

      1. I’m turning 50 next year and have been a photographer for the past 30 years. It is now that I’m starting to experience a great creative surge…you’re just as old as your mind allows you to be!!

  2. There are two types of photographers, full time and part time. My opinion is on part time.

    Between the age of 30 to 40 there is limited time and money available for gear and travel. Over 40 it seem to start getting easier for the average Joe to get new gear and to get time for this hobby. By this time you have fallen behind on technology and must play catch-up. I firmly believe it will take 5 to 10 years to learn the new tricks and develop skill again. Thus you peak at 45 to 55. After that you will probably specialize in somethiing specific like studio work or macro which will again take few years to peak.


  3. Perhaps this is true for photojournalists and street photographers where there needs to be a certain degree of hunger to Get the Shot. It might be that this hunger decreases with age. However, as far as more contemplative work goes, techical knowledge and maturity of vision can only improve as one gets older. I’ve looked at the Ansel Adams image here featured many times and each time I am stuck anew by its beauty and majesty. Work like this is the antidote to all those boring HDR landscape shots littered on flickr and other photo sharing sites.

    1. I totally agree with you on all counts and I detest anything to do with HDR…It’s one of those horrible techniques used to enhance bad images when the photo has nothing going for it. These days people are so taken in by digital filters, they lose sight of what true photography is about and the years of experience need to train the eye to identify and capture beautiful images.

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