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This is not a critical analysis, as it would require a review of their whole work as well as knowing them in person. These are just my feelings as I look at their work. I like to assess them in comparison to each other’s.
The few lines have been written without permission. I hope I would be forgiven as I could not help sharing my feelings.
1. Steve McCurry 

http://stevemccurry.com/

  An iconic figure no doubt. He created a sensation when one of his photographs of an Afghan girl appeared in national geographic magazine. Years later he was requested to present a follow up. He went all the way to Afghanistan, located that girl (now a mature woman) and shot her (with camera obviously :-) 
In all his pictures, you would see a human being, as if the whole purpose of shooting (even landscapes) was to draw attention to some human figure. All else appear to be of no significance to him. He is widely traveled and has presented people from all cultures and religions. His work creates a feeling of humanism, a tenderness and love for fellow human beings.
In his art, man appears to be the focal point of interest, a symbol of dignity despite all misery and hardships.

2. Alan Shapiro:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AlanShapiro/about

Recently introduced through g+. His characters are totally different types. Mostly the portraits are in BW. Human figure are presented devoid of the environment, it is difficult to say, what these people do and where they live. There is always something intriguing and disturbing about those people. Something which is difficult to explain. There evoke a feeling of disquiet. One wants to know who they are and why they appear to be in such condition.They are the sort of people whom one would immediately look at even in a crowd and wonder about them with a disturbing in our minds

3. .Michiel de Lange 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/102409541521880756024/posts

 His pictures are more in nature of Steve McCurry and reminds me of him. He is more interested in ordinary human beings and presents them in their daily life. The characters appear familiar as if from our own street. The pictures evoke a sense of affinity and love for them. In contrast to Steve McCurry who always tries to present human beings in extreme living conditions as if man is in struggle with nature and appear taller despite apparent disability and defeat. His characters are more serene and appear to live a normal life in some provincial town

4.  Leanne Staples

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LeanneStaples/about

I have listed her in the end, as despite being a social and cultural photographer, she has a totally different style. Her work is more in nature of art rather than a simple cultural commentary. Her pictures are not to be seen, they are to be felt at a deeper level.
 Before I comment on her portraits, let me say that her other interest is in architectural photography. She is basically a true citizen of a modern cosmopolitan. Here we see only buildings, with no human beings. Buildings are usually taller, skyscrapers. They appear to create a sensation of wonder and awe at human designs.
In contrast to architectural photography, her street photography, present life in a modern 21st century, here man appears to be lost in jungle of skyscrapers. Instead of creating intimacy with human figures, her pictures evoke a sensation of nostalgia, of loneliness and appear to create a sensation that human beings are weak and insignificant in comparison of natural and man-made environment.

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Comment by Aamir Shahzad on November 29, 2012 at 9:56pm

I should have added sample pictures but did not know how to do it, being my first blog post.

However I have added their pictures and their responses to my analysis as well on my group 'art of photography' 

Please read the details and pictures on 

http://www.picturesocial.com/group/art-of-photography/forum/topics/...

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