Friday, August 27, 2010


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Man Ray - born Emmanuel Radnitzky on this day in 1890 - pushed the boundaries of art like few before him. His painterly approach to photography is one of the chief reasons photography is considered to be art today; even those gallery owners who still insist on sneering at photography as a non-art* have to give Man Ray his due.

Moving to Paris as a young man, he fell in with both Surrealists and Dadaists, who were prominent in Paris in the years before World War II; he also fell in love with the most famous Muse of her day, Kiki de Montparnasse.

Yet Man Ray's contribution to photography isn't merely aesthetic, but also technical. He was one of the first to paint using an airbrush, for instance. He shot double and triple exposures, and also exhibited photography in three dimensions. The technique he was probably best known for is solarizing, and he also invented the rayograph, a photo made without a camera.

*Still a surprisingly high number.
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