Man Ray

American Photographer | Born: 1890 - Died: 1976

Born in Philadelphia, Emmanuel Radnitsky grew up in New Jersey and became a commercial artist in New York in the 1910s. He began to sign his name Man Ray in 1912, although his family did not change its surname to Ray until the 1920s. He initially taught himself photography in order to reproduce his own works of art, which included paintings and mixed media. In 1921 he moved to Paris and set up a photography studio to support himself. There he began to make photograms, which he called "Rayographs." In the 1920s, he also began making moving pictures. Man Ray's four completed films--Return to Reason, Emak Bakia, Starfish, and Mystery of the Chateau--were all highly creative, non-narrative explorations of the possibilities of the medium. Shortly before World War II, Man Ray returned to the United States and settled in Los Angeles from 1940 until 1951. He was disappointed that he was recognized only for his photography in America and not for the filmmaking, painting, sculpture, and other media in which he worked. In 1951 Man Ray returned to Paris. He concentrated primarily on painting until his death in 1976.

Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky, August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was an American modernist artist who spent most of his career in Paris, France. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. He produced major works in a variety of media but considered himself a painter above all. He was best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography, and he was a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. Ray is also noted for his work with photograms, which he called "rayographs" in reference to himself.

Source: Wikipedia


“I have finally freed myself from the sticky medium of paint, and am working directly with light itself.” So enthused Man Ray in 1922, shortly after his first experiments with camera-less photography. He remains well known for these images, commonly called photograms but which he dubbed "rayographs" in a punning combination of his own name and the word “photograph.”

Man Ray’s artistic beginnings came some years earlier, in the Dada movement. Shaped by the trauma of World War I and the emergence of a modern media culture—epitomized by advancements in communication technologies like radio and cinema—Dada artists shared a profound disillusionment with traditional modes of art making and often turned instead to experimentations with chance and spontaneity. In The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows, Man Ray based the large, color-block composition on the random arrangement of scraps of colored paper scattered on the floor. The painting evinces a number of interests that the artist would carry into his photographic work: negative space and shadows; the partial surrender of compositional decisions to accident; and, in its precise, hard-edged application of unmodulated color, the removal of traces of the artist’s hand.

In 1922, six months after he arrived in Paris from New York, Man Ray made his first rayographs. To make them, he placed objects, materials, and sometimes parts of his own or a model's body onto a sheet of photosensitized paper and exposed them to light, creating negative images. This process was not new—camera-less photographic images had been produced since the 1830s—and his experimentation with it roughly coincided with similar trials by Lázló Moholy-Nagy. But in his photograms, Man Ray embraced the possibilities for irrational combinations and chance arrangements of objects, emphasizing the abstraction of images made in this way. He published a selection of these rayographs—including one centered around a comb, another containing a spiral of cut paper, and a third with an architect’s French curve template on its side—in a portfolio titled Champs délicieux in December 1922, with an introduction written by the Dada leader Tristan Tzara. In 1923, with his film Le Retour à la raison (Return to Reason), he extended the rayograph technique to moving images.

Around the same time, Man Ray’s experiments with photography carried him to the center of the emergent Surrealist movement in Paris. Led by André Breton, Surrealism sought to reveal the uncanny coursing beneath familiar appearances in daily life. Man Ray proved well suited to this in works like Anatomies, in which, through framing and angled light, he transformed a woman’s neck into an unfamiliar, phallic form. He contributed photographs to the three major Surrealist journals throughout the 1920s and 1930s, and also constructed Surrealist objects like Gift, in which he altered a domestic tool (an iron) into an instrument of potential violence, and Indestructible Object (or Object to Be Destroyed), a metronome with a photograph of an eye affixed to its swinging arm, which was destroyed and remade several times.

Source: The Museum of Modern Art

Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray
Man Ray Portraits
Author: Terence Pepper, Helen Trompeteler,
Publisher: Yale University Press
Year: 2013 - Pages: 224
The artist May Ray (1890–1976) initially taught himself photography in order to reproduce his own works of art, but it became one of his preferred mediums. As a contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements in Paris during the 1920s, Man Ray was perfectly placed to make defining images of his avant-garde contemporaries, including Jean Cocteau, Peggy Guggenheim, and Gertrude Stein. Man Ray also photographed his friends and lovers, among them Kiki de Montparnasse (Alice Prin), Lee Miller, who helped him discover the solarization printing process, and Ady Fidelin. Man Ray continued to take portrait photographs throughout his career, including little-known images from 1940s Hollywood, and of stars such as Ava Gardner and Catherine Deneuve taken during the 1950s and 1960s. An essential reference on Man Ray’s life and work, this book includes an introduction by Terence Pepper and essay by Marina Warner exploring the artist’s creativity and appetite for innovation and experimentation. Complete with first-hand testimonies from the artist’s sitters and over 200 beautifully reproduced images, this handsome volume provides a survey of the finest portraits from one of the most inventive photographic artists of the 20th century.
 
Man Ray
Author: Man Ray, Manfred Heiting
Publisher: Taschen America, LLC
Year: 2012 - Pages: 192
Man Ray (1890-1976) is indisputably one of the most original artists of the 20th century. His revolutionary nude studies, fashion work, and portraits opened a new chapter in the history of photography. Born under the name of Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia, he began his artistic career in New York. In 1921 he moved to Paris, where he was enthusiastically welcomed into Dadaist and Surrealist circles. Man Ray experimented tirelessly with new photographic techniques, multiple exposure, rayography, and solarization being some of his most famous. Erotic, playful, and sometimes sinister, his compositions show unusual bodies and objects: strange, striking images that transform our perceptions of reality. This collection of famous, lesser known, and unknown works fully illustrates Man Ray's singular visionary power.
 
Man Ray
Author: Guido Comis, Marco Franciolli
Publisher: Skira
Year: 2011 - Pages: 330
An exciting monograph dedicated to an extraordinary figure and one of last century’s most famous and influential artists. Man Ray (1890-1976) was a photographer, painter, and creator of objects, experimental films, and images which were at times enigmatic. This catalog, which presents more than 200 works and compares and contrasts images with biographical details, is divided into three main sections: Man Ray’s formative years spent between New York and an artists’ colony in Ridgefield, New Jersey; the Paris period; and the period spent between Hollywood and Paris, France-the city he ultimately chose to adopt as his home. The publication describes the creation of some of his most famous pieces and the motifs-very often of females-that inspired the works. Man Ray’s life was marked by a succession of love affairs with famous and intriguing women, and this catalog dedicates several sections to this topic. The book also deals with the themes permeating Man Ray’s work throughout the years, such as his passion for chess, the relationship between reality and illusion, and experimental photography and film. Comparisons are also made with the works of some of the most important artists of the twentieth century, such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Constantin Brancusi, Jean Arp, and Francis Picabia.
 
Photographs by Man Ray: 105 Works, 1920-1934
Author: Man Ray
Publisher: Dover Publications
Year: 1980 - Pages: 128
Rich selection of various techniques include over and under exposure, shooting through fabric, superimposing images, and zeroing in on tiny details. Photographs are divided into general subjects, female figures (mainly nudes); women's faces (including Gertrude Stein); celebrity portraits (Dali, Derain, Matisse, Picasso, and others); and rayographs, cameraless compositions created by resting objects on unexposed film.
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Rémi Chapeaublanc
Nationality: French
Born: 1984
Self-taught photographer, Rémi Chapeaublanc was destined for a scientific career in bioinformatics. He continued to use the Cartesian approach from this training adding a sensitive, people-centred dimension the day he decided to be a photographer.

For his series Gods & Beasts (2011), he crossed Europe and Asia reaching Mongolia. Inside the yurt or outside, at nightfall, he produced portraits of Kazakh nomadic herders and their animals without ever resorting to (…)
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
 
Marco Garabello
Nationality: Italian
No, I haven't been a photographer for all of my life. When I was younger, I worked as a journalist and TV anchorman, then, for another ten years, I worked as a manager for several companies, both Italian and foreign. Then the "fil rouge" of photography, that crossed my whole life, had the upper hand and became a full-time job, that I could enrich with all my previous experiences.
More than six hundreds awards in International Photo Contests (among which 120 gold medals)(…)
Marco Garabello
Marco Garabello
Marco Garabello
Marco Garabello
Marco Garabello
Marco Garabello
Marco Garabello
Marco Garabello
 
Alain Schroeder
Nationality: Belgium
Born: 1955
Alain Schroeder is a Belgian photojournalist born in 1955. In 1989 he founded Reporters (http://www.reporters.be), a well-known photo agency in Belgium. He has illustrated over thirty books dedicated to China, Persia, the Renaissance, Ancient Rome, the Gardens of Europe, Thailand, Tuscany, Crete, Vietnam, Budapest, Venice, the Abbeys of Europe, Natural Sites of Europe, etc.  Belgian book titles include, « Le Carnaval de Binche vu par 30 Photographes », and « Processions de (…)
Alain Schroeder
Alain Schroeder
Alain Schroeder
Alain Schroeder
Alain Schroeder
Alain Schroeder
Alain Schroeder
Alain Schroeder
 
Pierre Verger
Nationality: French
Born: 1902 - Died: 1996

Pierre Edouard Leopold Verger, alias Fatumbi or Fátúmbí was a photographer, self-taught ethnographer, and babalawo (Yoruba priest of Ifa) who devoted most of his life to the study of the African diaspora - the slave trade, the African-based religions of the new world, and the resulting cultural and economical flows from and to Africa.

At the age of 30, after losing his family, Pierre Verger took up the career of journalistic photographer. Over the next 15 (…)
 
J.M. Golding
Nationality: American
J. M. Golding is a photographic artist based in the San Francisco Bay area. She chooses plastic, pinhole, and vintage film cameras as her primary tools: plastic cameras such as the Holga for the spontaneity they promote and their capacity to help create dreamlike images, pinhole cameras for their simplicity and their contemplative quality, and vintage film cameras for the subjectivity of the images that are possible. J. M.'s photographs have been shown internationally in (…)
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
J.M. Golding
 
Paul Coghlin
Nationality: British
Born: 1967
Growing-up near southern England's beautiful New Forest and coast, Paul Coghlin developed an interest in creative photography from a young age, regularly travelling out with a camera to capture the natural surroundings.

Now based in eastern England, the award-winning photographer has continued to expand his creative style across a range of subjects, with his images regularly appearing in exhibitions and international publications, and is a Fellow of the British (…)
Paul Coghlin
Paul Coghlin
Paul Coghlin
Paul Coghlin
Paul Coghlin
Paul Coghlin
Paul Coghlin
Paul Coghlin
 
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Nationality: American
Character-based portraits and narrative-driven scenes are our thing. Large & complex productions are where we thrive, and we specialize in capturing authentic moments in even the most manufactured of settings.

True collaborators at heart, we formed Kremer/Johnson to explore our combined creative vision. We share in all duties from ideation & pre-production through shooting & post. Together we create still & moving images for editorial, corporate, and advertising (…)
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
Cory Johnson & Neil Kremer
 
Jeremy Cowart
Nationality: American

From jeremycowart.com
At his core, Jeremy is an artist. Starting out as a painter first, Jeremy fell in love with the creative process. He then went on to study graphic design in college and founded his own graphic design company, Pixelgrazer, in 2001. Jeremy really only began taking pictures to bring texture into his design work. But before he knew it, he realized that photography (…)
Jeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart
Jeremy Cowart
 
Victoria Bjorklund
Nationality: American

From www.victoriabjorklund.com
Victoria Bjorklund is a photographic & book artist based in Tacoma, Washington. She finds inspiration within the city and seeks to give a narrative in each thoughtfully captured photograph. Victoria is a graduate of the Fine Art Certificate program in Photography from Maine Media College and a graduate of the EDGE program for visual artists through (…)
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
 
Yusuf Sevinçli
Nationality: Turk
Born: 1980

Sevinçli’s images are highly personal, subjective and dreamlike, in which place and time are uncertain, redolent instead of a deeply felt vision of the world. His fleeting images of everyday life have an air of timelessness about them. Aesthetically and formally they manifest Sevinçli’s respect and deep engagement with the history of photography.

Yusuf Sevinçli earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Marmara University (Istanbul) in 2003, and (…)
Yusuf Sevinçli
Yusuf Sevinçli
Yusuf Sevinçli
Yusuf Sevinçli
Yusuf Sevinçli
Yusuf Sevinçli
Yusuf Sevinçli
Yusuf Sevinçli
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Discover the 6th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
The Jules Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery who seeks to engage the San Francisco community by infusing European artists, young and established alike, into a diverse, multimedia dialogue.
 
TAKES U TO THE NEXT LEVEL
 
Since 2005, your guide through contemporary art from a French perspective to let you make exciting choices