fbpx

You may be wondering, what career offers the most awesome fictional characters? Of course it’s photography! Here at The Nerdy Photographer, I’ve compiled a list of the best fictional photographers from movies, television, comic books, and even video games.

Our subjects in this article are press photographers, photojournalists, fashion photographers, portrait photographers and more. Furthermore, their stories run the gambit of genres, including drama, comedy, horror, and thrillers.

Don’t let the fact that their fictional discount their impact on the profession of photography. Just because they aren’t real, doesn’t mean fictional photographers can’t teach us a thing or two about taking amazing photos.

Or, for that matter, don’t think that they don’t inspire people to pick up a camera!

list of fictional photographers

Editor’s Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. You do not have to use them, but we highly appreciate you using the links if you plan on renting or purchasing one of the films mentioned below because the minimal fee we receive in return helps pay our bills. Thanks! Want to find other ways you can support the Nerdy Photographer? Click here!

Are you ready for our list of fictional photographers in the movies, comic books, TV, and video games? Let’s get started!

L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies – Rear Window (1954)

Jefferies, played by Jimmy Stewart in this Hitchcock classic, breaks his leg while trying to get an action shot, and is confined to a wheelchair. While sequestered in his New York City apartment, he begins spying on his neighbors, and is convinced that one of them has committed murder.

Let me just say, both from a photographer and someone who lived in NYC for 20 years, Stewart’s performance is highly believable.

Watch Rear Window on Amazon

Peter Parker – Spiderman

The original master of the selfie, Peter Parker manages to make a career out of taking pictures of himself. It’s almost unfair to the rest of the hard working photographers in New York City, but Peter has to deal with some other issues that most photographers don’t have to put up with.

fictional photographers in comic books - peter parker

Peter Parker’s photo and web slinging antics have spanned comic books, cartoons, television shows, and no less than FOUR different movie series. That’s right, there was a 1977 movie you probably weren’t aware of until now.

Get Your Peter Parker/Spiderman Fix Satisfied on Amazon

Jimmy Olsen – Superman

fictional photographers in comic books - jimmy olson

Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s trust sidekick, Jimmy Olsen, has been a top notch photojournalist for decades. Olson has been portrayed by NUMEROUS actors and in recent years there have been some notable decisions to mix up gender and ethnicity for the character.

Regardless of who portrays Jimmy, the character is the inspiration for a pretty awesome Spin Doctors song. Don’t agree? I will fight you!

Brush Up on Your Daily Planet Characters on Amazon

Vicki Vale – Batman

fictional photographers in comic books - vicki vale

Vicki Vale, made popular in mainstream pop culture by Kim Basinger’s portrayal in Tim Burton’s Batman, has taken on numerous jobs in her comic book history. However, she is first and foremost a photojournalist.

Watch the Tim Burton Batman on Amazon

Thomas – Blow Up (1966)

photographers in pop culture and films - thomas - blow up

Thomas is just your regular super cool London photographer in the 1960s until he unwittingly captures what he believes to be a murder on film. The thrills get more intense when his evidence disappears.

Watch Blow Up on Amazon

Austin Powers – Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

fictional photographers - austin powers

He’s a groovy spy, baby! But his cover is as an international fashion photographer. It’s perfect. And I think I’ve used the term “I’m spent!” at the end of pretty much every portrait shoot I have done since this movie came out.

Also, I have to say, I think the first film in this series is a lot of fun, but also very heartfelt and seriously deals with the issues a person transported from the 1960s would have when transported to the “modern day”. The sequel films, nevertheless, managed to crush whatever empathy you had for Austin in the first film.

Watch Austin Powers on Amazon

Rocket – City of God (2002)

Rocket - City of God

Loosely based on real events, Rocket struggles in the slums of Rio to become a press photographer while his childhood friend becomes a kingpin. This movie is frenetic, sometimes terrifying, and beautiful crafted. It won four Academy Awards

Watch City of God on Amazon

Mike Kovack – Man With a Camera (1958-1960)

Charles Bronson portrays Mike, a former combat photographer who comes to New York City. When he gets there, Kovack becomes a freelance photographer specializing in difficult and often dangerous jobs!

And you’ve got pre-Death Wish, pre-Great Escape, pre-Dirty Dozen Charles Bronson!!

Get the complete series on DVD/Digital on Amazon

Jonathan Byers – Stranger Things (2016-2021)

Jonathan, played by Charlie Heaton, is an avid photographer. To the point of being semi creepy. But, his photography plays a crucial part in solving some supernatural mysteries.

Finn – Palermo Shooting (2008)

palermo shooting fictional photography movie

Wim Wenders got an actual rock star, Campino, to play rock star photographer, Finn. After living on the edge nearly costs him his life, Finn moves to Palermo to chill out. But trouble just seems to keep finding him.

Martin – Proof (1991)

Hugo Weaving as blind photographer in Proof

Hugo Weaving plays Martin, a BLIND photographer who takes pictures of things to prove the world is as others tell him it is. Just wrap your head around blind photographer first…

Come for the pre-Matrix, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Babe, and Lord of the Rings Weaving and stay for young Russell Crowe as his friend, Andy.

Watch Proof on Amazon

Anna – Closer (2004)

Julia Roberts plays portrait photographer Anna in Closer

While the movie is predominately about the story of two couples lives intersecting, the scenes of Anna (played by Julia Roberts) at work as a portrait photographer feel genuine and more well thought than most treatments of photographers.

Watch Closer on Amazon

Robert Kincaid – Bridges of Madison County (1995)

Clint Eastwood as photographer in Bridges of Madison County

Robert is a National Geographic photographer on assignment to photograph some bridges in the 1960s and takes a detour from pressing the shutter to have a four day love affair with a woman he meets while on the assignment.

Watch Bridges of Madison County on Amazon

Leonard – Memento

Leonard has to document everything in his life with his camera because, well, he forgets things.

Given the choice between tattooing myself and taking pictures to remember things, I would definitely go with taking pictures.

Watch Memento on Amazon

Leon Bernstein – The Public Eye

Fictional photographers - Leon Bernstein played by Joe Pesci in Public Eye

Equally comfortable hanging out with crooks or cops, Leon never takes sides, he only takes pictures! You can’t go wrong with Joe Pesci as a hard boiled crime photographer with a heart of gold.

Watch The Public Eye on Amazon

Prue Halliwell – Charmed

Prue Halliwell - fictional photographer

Prue’s photos are, I guess you could say, magical!

Watch Charmed on Amazon

Les Galantine – Delirious (2006)

Steve Buscemi as fictional papparazzi in Delirious

Steve Buscemi portrays Les, a member of the paparazzi, who takes on a homeless youth (played by Michael Pitt) as an assistant. Buscemi is always on point and it’s a lot of fun to see him playing across from Pitt in their pre-Boardwalk Empire days.

Watch Delirious on Amazon

Harlen Maguire – Road to Perdition (2002)

Creepy AF Jude Law as crime scene photographer in Road to Perdition

Harlen, played by Jude Law, is both a sinister mob assassin and a crime scene photographer. People note his pale complexion from spending too much time in the darkroom.

Since Road to Perdition was originally a graphic novel, Harlen is one of those rare fictional photographers to span different types of visual media.

Watch Road to Perdition on Amazon

Sean O’Connell – Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Sean Penn as fictional photographer Sean O'Connell

In this 2013 remake of the Danny Kaye classic, photography plays a critical role. O’Connell, portrayed by Sean Penn, is a near mythical figure in the movie as Walter Mitty searches to find him and a lost canister of film. When Mitty finds O’Connell in the Himalayas, camped out waiting to photograph the even more elusive than he is snow leopard, he doesn’t take the picture.

Why?

“If I like a moment…me, personally…I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just wanna stay in it!

Watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty on Amazon

Seymour – One Hour Photo (2002)

Whatever you do, do not take your inspiration from Seymour. While he’s primarily a photo technician, it feels wrong to leave him off a list of photographers in movies. I would tell you more but that would spoil this brilliantly creepy performance by Robin Williams. He is absolutely chilling and will make you really glad that the days of the photo clerk seeing every single one of your exposures is long past us…

Watch One Hour Photo on Amazon

Laura Mars – The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

Laura Mars - fictional photographer

Laura, played by Faye Dunaway, is a hip downtown Manhattan photographer who suddenly develops the ability to see through the eyes of a serial killer. She must use her powers to catch the killer before he strikes again.

The film also features a young Tommy Lee Jones and Brad Dourif.

Watch The Eyes of Laura Mars on Amazon

Rafterman – Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Rafterman - fictional photographer in the movie Full Metal Jacket

Rafterman is the combat photographer to Joker’s war correspondent. He wants to go into combat after hearing Joker’s stories. But, as fate would have it, sometimes you get more than you wish for…

Also, you can click here to check out the beautiful behind-the-scenes photos Matthew Modine took while shooting the movie.

Watch Full Metal Jacket on Amazon

Frank West – Dead Rising

photographers in video games and pop culture

I still remember picking up the first Dead Rising when it came out. Frank West is a photographer sent in to document a zombie outbreak. While there’s the usual zombie apocalypse fair, what made this game stand out was Frank’s ability to pick up anything (and I do mean anything) and use it as a weapon. And, you got points for actually taking pictures and documenting the various stages of the outbreak!

Until recently, I had no idea that they actually turned Dead Rising into a series of movies starring Jesse Metcalf as Frank West. I am going to check them out on Amazon. Will you?

Watch the Dead Rising Movies or Pick Up a Game for Your Console of Choice on Amazon

Lydia Deetz – Beetlejuice.

Lydia Deetz - fictional photographer in movies

Lydia, the daughter of an established artist, is an avid photographer and can be seen taking pictures throughout the film.

She is, herself, strange and unusual.

Watch Beetlejuice on Amazon

The Photojournalist – Apocalypse Now (1979)

The photojournalist - Apocalypse Now

No list of photographers in movies would be complete without the “American photojournalist.” Portrayed by Dennis Hopper, this addled acolyte of Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz welcomes Martin Sheen’s Willard into the mad world deep in the heart of darkness. You can certainly give him one thing, he’s not short on gear!

“The man is clear in his mind! But his soul is mad”

Watch Apocalypse Now on Amazon

Jade – Beyond Good and Evil

Jade - fictional photojournalist photographers in video games and pop culture

Jade is the protagonist of Beyond Good and Evil and she uses her camera as one of her most important weapons. She owns her own photojournalism company. Furthermore, she is tasked with photographing incriminating data on an elite military organization and denounce their fraudulent actions.

Unfortunately, they haven’t made any more of these games in the last 10 years for new consoles. Fingers crossed!

Richard Boyle – Salvador (1986)

James woods as fictional photographer Richard Boyle in the movie Salvador

An early, and critically acclaimed Oliver Stone film starring James Woods as conflict photographer Richard Boyle covering the Salvadoran Civil War. While the film is more about US foreign policy, it does give some insight into the mindset of conflict photographers.

Watch Salvador on Amazon

Lucy – High Art (1998)

Ally Sheedy as fictional photographer in the movie High Art

Lucy, a drug addicted photographer played by Ally Sheedy, falls in love with an art magazine intern and the two begin to exploit one another to further their own careers.

The film explores the ways that personal and professional lives can intersect. Furthermore, the portrait photos in the movie were created to emulate the style of Nan Goldin.

Watch High Art on Amazon

Nick Van Owen – The Lost World (1997)

Vince Vaughn as photographer in the movie Lost World

Van Owen is is portrayed by Vince Vaughn in a prime post Swingers performance. He’s there for witty comments like this:

“Competition’s over, close the entries, I’d like to thank everybody who lost.”

But his photography skills are not entirely why he’s hired for the job photographing what’s happening at the neighboring island to Jurassic Park. He’s also a saboteur!

Watch The Lost World: Jurassic Park on Amazon

Russell Price – Under Fire (1983)

Nick Nolte as fictional photographer Russell Price in the movie Under Fire

Nick Nolte plays Price, a star photographer covering the civil war in Nicaragua. As the conflict deepens, he finds it more and more difficult not to take sides.

Watch Under Fire on Amazon

Casey Connor – The Faculty (1998)

Remember The Faculty? Wow, this movie had a ton of talent in it! And one of those talents was Elijah Wood as the nerdy high school photographer, Casey Connor.

And no, I did not include this fictional photographer just because his name is Casey!

Watch The Faculty on Amazon

Chris – Metroland (1997)

Portrayed by a young Christian Bale, Chris is reminded of his carefree (sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll) lifestyle as a photographer in Paris when an old friend reappears in his life after a ten year absence. Will he return to his hedonistic ways or face reality?

Watch Metroland on Amazon

Did I miss your favorite fictional photographer?

Tell me who they are! I will add them to the list. You can tell me in a comment or reach out to me via:

Did You Enjoy the List?

Did this list of fictional photographers in movies, comic books, television, and video games brighten your day? Good, I’m glad. My purpose in these types of posts is to give you some deep cut material to impress your photographer friends, as well as some entertainment.

If you feel like supporting The Nerdy Photographer (in free or even inexpensive ways), click the button below!

Support The Nerdy Photographer
SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE!
COMMENTS

Support The Nerdy Photographer

Subscribe to The Nerdy Photographer Podcast

get the nerdy photographer newsletter

Categories

Podchaser - The Nerdy Photographer Podcast
Web Hosting