The Photography of Man Ray

Le violon d'Ingres, 1924

Le violon d’Ingres, 1924

Man Ray, the surrealist artist that rose to prominence in the 1920’s, worked in nearly every medium imaginable. He did everything from painting a pair of disembodied lips (Observatory Time The Lovers,1936) to creating a film where a women’s eyeball was sliced open (Un Chien De Andalou, 1929). One notable area of Man Ray’s vast catalog of work is his photography.


Woman With Long Hair, 1929

“I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions, ” Man Ray once  said, referring to his surreal aesthetic. To create that surreal effect. He often used techniques like double exposure, combination printing and cropping to create his photographs. However,Man Ray’s favorite technique was solarization. Solarization involves exposing a photograph to white light during the development process. The result is a photograph that is extremely overexposed. Solarization was a known phenomenon in photography before Man Ray used it, but it was considered a mistake rather than a methodology. Man Ray is often considered the first photographer to intentionally use solarization for artistic purposes.

solarisation 1931

Solarisation, 1931


Primacy of Matter over Thought, 1929

Man Ray also created a new type of image called a “Rayogramme” or “Rayograph”. The creation of these images involved photographic paper but did not involve a camera.Photographic paper would have object laid directly on it and be exposed to light. Then, the image would be developed. As a result, a silhouette of the object would appear on the paper.

Rayograph (The Kiss), 1922

Rayograph (The Kiss), 1922

Photography was Man Ray’s most successful artistic venture. He even did commercial work for major magazines including Harper’s Bazaar.


By Grace Hetfield


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s