Over the next five days, I’ll post about a different photographer each day. I hope you enjoy it!
Day 1 is one of the world’s greatest and most innovative photographers, Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky). He was the only American to work prolifically in both the Surrealist and Dada movements, forming the New York Dada group alongside Marcel Duchamp. Man Ray also produced ready-mades as Duchamp did, the most famous being The Gift (1921), an iron with spikes on the bottom. I love to imagine the noise it would make, ripping through fabric…
I studied photography for just one year and, although I found that taking photos wasn’t really my thing, I had so much fun creating rayographs in the darkroom! Many of Man Ray’s portraits and rayographs covered my bedroom walls as a teenager. Now, as a teacher, I love to discuss this artist with my students, many of whom do not agree that photography can be art.
Some of these look like scientific or alien images.
Although his parents were not thrilled by his initial decision, they supported his passion for the arts, and even allowed him to convert a room in the house into a studio. Man Ray began work in several mediums: sculpture, film, painting and photography were just some of his many passions. – Art History Archive
Together with Surrealist photographer Lee Miller—his lover and photography assistant at the time—Man Ray invented the photographic technique of solarization. He also created a technique using photograms he called rayographs. Man Ray also directed a number of influential avant-garde short films, such as Le Retour à la Raison (2 mins, 1923); Emak-Bakia (16 mins, 1926); L’Étoile de Mer (15 mins, 1928); and Les Mystéres du Château du Dé (20 mins, 1929). – Artchive
For Man Ray, the medium of photography had always been more than a mere technical reproduction material, even though he had first been introduced to it as such. In it, he discovered a multilayered, artistic means of expression. It is important to add that he was originally a painter, drawer, and object artist, which he remained for the rest of his life, even though photography came to take a prominent place in his work. The European avant-garde and their ultra-modern presentation techniques already fascinated him, together with Marcel Duchamp, even before leaving New York. Skilled in all things technical and happy to try new things, he worked with an airbrush gun and irritated the New York art world with pictures that could no longer be categorized. – Lumas
In 1921 Man Ray moved to Paris and became associated with the Parisian Dada and Surrealist circles of artists and writers. Inspired by the liberation promoted by these groups, he experimented with many media. His experiments with photography included rediscovering how to make “cameraless” pictures, or photograms, which he called rayographs. He made them by placing objects directly on light-sensitive paper, which he exposed to light and developed. – Britannica