From Studio to Street: The Urban Photography of Man Ray

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Dada and Surrealist photographer Man Ray is rarely associated with street photography, a genre popular with both artists and writers of the 1920s and 30s. Yet his work demonstrates a closer connection to this area than has previously been acknowledged. From his early Dada constructions to the later photographic depictions of both Paris and New York, the city played a crucial role in Man Ray's artistic output. This essay explores Man Ray's urban photography, not as an uncharacteristic shift of concerns, as some critics have argued, but rather as an extension of the aesthetic approach taken in his more famous studio-based works. It explores the influence of Eugène Atget, who Man Ray claimed to have 'discovered' and argues that the latter draws on the older photographer's compositional structures, pushing them into more abstract, formalist territory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalHistory of Photography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2010


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