Man Ray

Man Ray, photographer, artist, and surrealist, was born on August 27, 1890. He is one of my favorite photographers – I posted a few of his works in a previous post. To acknowledge his birthday, I’ve gathered a few photos from the Smithsonian’s website.

(Électricité) la Ville, 1931, Compagnie Parisienne de Distribution d’Electricite (Publisher). Photogravure on paper mounted on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum

The photo is from his Electricity series; I like the geometric composition. I’d seen this photo many times but didn’t quite realize what it was. When we were in Paris, we found a great old postcard of the Eiffel Tower taken at night. It was lit up and had “Citroën” in large letters lit up all the way down the tower. I realized looking at this photo tonight that the lettering was very similar to that on the postcard; I went and looked at the postcard, and yes, that is the Eiffel Tower in the background. It was used as a billboard by Citroën from 1925-1936.

Untitled (Portrait of Ruth Ford), ca. 1945. Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Gift of Juliet Man Ray

What I like about this is the lighting and the angle, and that it’s a portrait, unlike most of works I am drawn to.

Mexican Straw Doll, ca. 1945. Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Juliet Man Ray. © 1945, Man Ray Trust

I find this creepy but interesting. The shadow is great.

For a stunning book of Man Ray’s work, see Man Ray by Guido Comis and Marco Franciolli, published by Skira. The authors present his life and work chronologically in a well researched, beautifully designed, carefully printed book.


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