Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky). Rayograph. 1923
  • Not on view

Early in 1922, after leaving New York for Paris, Man Ray began to experiment with making camera-less “photos,” placing found objects upon photosensitized paper and exposing the arrangements to light. The immediacy of this process did away with the drawn-out steps of darkroom photography, addressing the goal Man Ray outlined when he wrote, “I am trying to make my photography automatic—to use my camera as I would a typewriter.” He nicknamed the results of his experiments “rayographs,” a combination of his name and the word “photograph.” This rayograph toys with the role of film in photography—instead of developing the film to create a photo in the traditional manner, Man Ray unspooled the roll across the light-sensitive paper to create a spiraling form.

Gallery label from 2019
Gelatin silver print
11 9/16 × 9 1/8" (29.4 × 23.2 cm)
Gift of James Thrall Soby
Object number
© 2020 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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