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Man Ray


1890 - 1976 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A

During his trip to Paris in 1921, Man Ray began to experiment with photography, and may have been introduced to the photogram by Tristan Tzara. He adopted the method and called his works "rayographs," photographic images composed of ordinary objects placed on photo sensitive paper exposed to light. Together with his muse Lee Miller, he developed the solarization process which he used in his fashion and nude photography. - The Museum of Modern Art

For Man Ray, photography often operated in the gap between art and life. It was a means of documenting sculptures that never had an independent life outside the photograph, and it was a means of capturing the activities of his avant-garde friends. His work as a commercial photographer encouraged him to create fine, carefully composed prints, but he would never aspire to be a fine art photographer in the manner of his early inspiration, Alfred Stieglitz.  -

Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky; August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was an American visual artist who spent most of his career in 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 for his photography, and he was a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. Man Ray is also noted for his work with photograms, which he called "rayographs" in reference to himself.

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If the countless celebrities photographed by Man Ray – Wallis Simpson, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf, Picasso, Chanel, Schiaparelli, himself – the one he went back to most obsessively was Lee Miller.
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First there was Emmanuel Radnitzky (1890-1976), an aspiring youth who grew up in Brooklyn. And then there was Man Ray, the artist he morphed into, who joined the Duchamp camp at an early age, relocated to Paris and went on to high-profile achievement as a painter, writer, sculptor and photographer of Surrealist persuasion.
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Start with the name Man Ray and you have the crux of Man Ray's working method. His real name was Emmanuel Radnitzky. But he cropped it, and cropped it well. He didn't become Manny Radnik or Manuel Nitzy. He folded and trimmed his name so that the new one would have a shiny new meaning, half human, half light. Man Ray cropped with flair, and chance had nothing to do with it.
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