Man Ray – Photograms.

by Amy Collier

Rayographs, 1922–1928 | Gelatin silver prints (photograms)
© 2010 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Man Ray (American, 1890-1976) produced his first photograms—cameraless works made by placing objects and other materials on photosensitive paper—after he came to Paris in 1921. Though he claimed that he discovered the technique through an accident in the darkroom, it seems likely that his exploration was prompted by fellow artist Tristan Tzara, who brought to Paris some of Christian Schad’s earlier experiments with the medium in Switzerland. Man Ray dubbed the results of his efforts “Rayographs”—a play on his name, but also a twist on the Latin roots of the word “photograph,” meaning “light-writing.” Tzara proclaimed them “pure Dada creations.”

All images & text courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) >> see more

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