Rich selection of various techniques include over and under exposure, shooting through fabric, superimposing images, and zeroing in on tiny details. Photographs are divided into general subjects, female figures (mainly nudes); women's faces (including Gertrude Stein); celebrity portraits (Dali, Derain, Matisse, Picasso, and others); and rayographs, cameraless compositions created by resting objects on unexposed film.
Definitely not an "Object to be Destroyed"2000/2/28
Man Ray was a superbly inventive photographer able to ignore the borders bewtween art & commercial photography. Originally published in 1934 as "Photographs by Man Ray 1920 Paris 1934," this collection is an excellent look at his photo work during his most adventurous years. The book is divided into five sections: general subjects; the female figure; women's faces; celebrity portraits; rayographs.
Man Ray's female figures are an offbeat take on the male gaze in which the processes are as sexy as the women. Along with his female faces, they demonstrate why Man Ray was much in demand by fashionable magazines. The "celebrity" portraits are of his fellow male artists & writers, with the exception of Gertrude Stein - who can hardly be glamorized anyway. The rayographs were created by placing objects directly on film, but the experimental nature of Man Ray's art is seen throughout this inexpensive book from Dover Publications. Picasso, Eluard, Breton, Tzara & Rrose Selavy a.k.a. Marcel Duchamp contributed texts. Highly recommended.
Man Ray was an innovative photographer, who developed new techniques for a relatively new medium, as these black-and-whites show. He writes a one-page introduction, that, when comprehensible, reveals his worldview, which he shared with the surrealists. The essence is that one must strip away convention and normality and open up some mysterious well of creativity. This source is unnamed and irrational, but so be it...for Man Ray.
Yet Man Ray was a human being, not a conduit for something nonhuman. He crafted his work through intelligence, taste, and experiment: clearly human proclivities and endowments. Thus, even at this strangest, Man Ray could not transcend Man Ray, the human being. Some things are given and cannot be taken.
The brief commentary on each section of Man Ray's work is abysmal because mostly incomprehensible. When one stomps on too many conventions, communication ceases. This is neither good nor pleasant; it is not profound; it is pathetic.
Nevertheless, Man Ray, at his best, can be fascinating; at his worst tasteless or merely perplexing. But we cannot ignore his role in modern photography and art in general.
Great artist, horrible book2014/2/10
I got this book instead of the much larger, more expensive hardcover. I figured 100 of his best photos would be fine, but most of his best works are not in here. There are only two or three photos that really caught my attention, while a google image search brings up plenty I really liked so its not just my taste.
a wonderful publication. A gift for a photographer. Good value.