For our feature on the trailblazers in everything avant-garde, we set our sights on Man Ray who was one of the pioneers of surrealism!
“It has never been my object to record my dreams, just the determination to realize them.”
Emmanuel Radnitzky, known more as the American artist Man Ray, is considered to be one of the pioneers of avant-garde photography. Tracing his roots from the Dada and Surrealist movements, Man Ray’s art, which encompasses a wide variety of media, is famous for being experimental and innovative. With his mastery of painting, photography, and photograms, which he renamed “rayographs”, he definitely pushed the boundaries of art during his time.
In the field of photography, one of his most important contributions are the “rayographs” where he puts everyday objects in front of photographic paper and exposes it to light, producing an incredibly minimalistic image. These impressionistic renderings definitely made a mark in the art of scene of his time.
Man Ray was mainly based in Paris, France but when World War II came along, he was forced to go back to USA, specifically Hollywood where he began shooting fashion photography. It was here, through his avant-garde discipline of shooting and lighting, that he forever changed the artistic landscape.
Looking back at his exemplary work and life, one can see that artistic success is dependent on not being idle and content with what you know. One always has to push artistic boundaries and not be afraid to experiment and dabble into things you’re unfamiliar with. In closing, I’ll leave you with one of Man Ray’s famous quotes:
“I do not photograph nature. I photograph my visions.”
Watch a brief slideshow of his work on youtube: