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man ray 906

man ray 906

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Published by singingman

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Published by: singingman on Oct 08, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A short biography:

Man Ray was born on August 27, 1890, in Philadelphia, and moved to New York with his family seven
years later. From 1909 to 1912 he studied at the Francisco Social Center Academy of Art, New York while
frequently visiting Alfred Stieglitz's gallery "291". He attended classes at the Ferrer Center in 1912 for
drawing and watercolors. Man Ray attempted to form an artist's commune in 1913 with the poet Alfred
Kreymborg. He had his first solo show at the Daniel Gallery in New York in 1915, and around this time, he
took up photography, the medium for which he is best known. By 1916, Ray's photography had come into
full swing, and he founded the "society of Independent Artists" together with Marcel Duchamp and Walter
Arensberg. In 1917, Man Ray created his first aerographs and went on to photographic and film
experiments with duchamp in 1920. In 1921, Ray invented the Rayographs and had his first important
exibition in the "Librairie Six", Paris. In 1922, Ray began his work with nude photography, and takes
photos for various magazines- fashion photos, and portraits. In 1923, Ray's first film was shown, "Le
retour a la raison". In 1925, he took part in his first surrealist exhibition in the galerie Pierre, Paris, and was
from then on associated with the surrealists. Man Ray's art did well, and he had many shows in both
France and America. Ray began to get more and more involved with the surrealists and his works
accompanied many poems and books. In 1940, Man Ray fled to the US, shortly before Germany's
occupation of France and he had exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Franscisco, Santa Barbara, Pasadena, and
New York. Man Ray returned to Paris in 1951, and in 1960, he had solo exhibitions in Photokina, Cologne.
He was awarded the gold metal for photography at the Biennale, in Venice. In 1963, he published his
autobiography, entitled "Self-Portrait" in London, and in 1966 he had his first large retrospective in the Los
Angeles County Museum of Art. Further retrospectives were shown all over Europe, and Man Ray had
several international solo exhibitions. He died November 18th, 1976 in Paris.
Man Ray, the artist:
Man Ray was a painter and photographer in the Dada, surrealist, and abstract art movements of the 1920s
and 1930s. In the beginning, he was a struggling young artist in New York. Man Ray did not take up
photography until he reached Paris in the early 20's; and he did so, initially out of need rather than desire
and also because no one, he felt could reproduce his paintings well enough, and he wanted to take the
matter in his own hands. Unable to sell his paintings, he turned to fashion photography and portraiture- he
became a portrait photographer to the intellectual avant-garde. He was very successful in both areas. By
1921, Man Ray's work was causing something of a sensation due to his use of natural light, sharp clear
contrast and informal poses. "His work seemed extreme or avant-guarde at a time when Pictorialism was
still the predominant style of photography in Europe." (Guggenheim website)
Man Ray's commercial success as a fashion and portrait photographer allowed him the freedom to pursue
experimental ideas related to his interest in the Dada art movement and later Surrealism. He disregarded
standards of art of his time, and his curious nature led to his discovery of the "Rayograph," later to be
called the photogram, and solarizations. He deliberately used "fault" techniques for aesthetic purposes-
"solarization (exposing the captured image to a flash of light during development to produce a strikingly
dark contour), granulation (emphasizing the silver grains of the light-sensitive medium to give the picture
an irregular pointed texture), negative printing (reversing the black and white elements of a picture to
alienate and enhance the impact of the image), distortions (angling the enlarger to produce an oblique
image of reality), relief processing (placing a transparency over a slightly displaced negative to create a
three-dimensional effect on the ultimate print)" (Man Ray, pg. 9). These techniques became instruments of
creative design.
Man Ray not only experimented with technique, but also with the nude female body. He is quoted to have
said, "Speaking of nudes, I have always had a great fondness for this subject, both in my paintings and in
my photos, and I must admit, not for purely artistic reasons". The females feuled Man Ray's imagination
and inspired him to works of photographic ingenius. "The pictures exude not blatant sex but veiled,
exciting eroticism" (Man Ray, pg. 9). Many of Ray's subjects were celebrities, but even when the subject
remained anonymous, the observer could sense that the woman in the photograph must have inspired Man
Ray as a man, and as an artist.
Man Ray was "an artist of quick wit and a sincere disinterest in too much artistic self-absorbtion"

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