Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky). Rayograph. 1923
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 508 The David Geffen Wing

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
Medium
Gelatin silver print (photogram)
Dimensions
11 5/8 x 9 5/16" (29.6 x 23.7 cm)
Credit
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Barr, Jr.
Object number
475.1984
Copyright
© 2019 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Department
Photography

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