b.1890 d. 1976
Today’s PotD is Emmanuel Radnitzky, who went by the name Man Ray. He actually refused to acknowledge his original name, which idk why**, because anyone with “Rad” as a part of their last name won the last name lottery. But, whatever Man Ray, you do you.
** I actually found out that he shortened his name because his family was afraid of antisemitism. That is NOT very rad at all. Way to go, America. Way. To. Go.
And we’re not talking about this Man Ray.
Man Ray was buddies with some names we are largely familiar with today: Dali, Picasso, Duchamp, Joyce, Stein, and Ernst, among many others. He was a part of that cool kid’s group at the beginning of the 20th century. He thought of himself as a painter, but it is actually his photographs that he is well known for.
He discovered solarization, and made his own photograms, which he called “Rayographs,” because when you’re Man Ray, you can do what you want, like name things after yourself. Who wouldn’t? #swag
Hello my name is Man Ray and I do photography without a camera. #soavantgarde #coolerthanyou #swag
Man Ray also did normal things like portraits, notably of his super neat-o friends, like Joyce and Stein.James Joyce, being the moody writer he is. Much agony. Very art.
Manny, get my good side. Picasso painted my bad side and I’m still salty about it.
So, he was the man. He did fashion photography, made avant-garde films, and even hung out with Duchamp to make readymades. He also said some pretty zen things about photography and art that make you go “whoa Man (Ray.)” You may even write one down in your sketchbook for inspiration.
“To create is divine, to reproduce is human.”
“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”
“I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions.”
Man Ray had a hand in the beginnings of the first modern art collection, and has been referred to, many times, as one of the most important artists in modern art history.
So, that’s Man Ray for you! What a guy.
The next PotD will be Nadar. Keep an eye out, and if you want to read about more photographers, be sure to check out the Photographer of the Day tab!