Ella Raines by Man Ray
If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?
People often love to ask this question and I thought it would be interesting ( and maybe fun?) to have a series of posts where I would write about each of my guests!
My first guest in no particular order would be Man Ray!
I’m inviting him for many reasons but my two most important ones are:
His amazing avant-garde photography of course. He was a key player in the evaluation of photography as a form of art
In 1922 shortly after his first experiments with camera-less photography Ray said “I have finally freed myself from the sticky medium of paint, and am working directly with light itself”. He became well known for those images, commonly called photograms but which he famously dubbed “rayographs” combining his own name and the word “photograph.”
To make those rayographs he placed his subjects or objects in front of a photosensitized paper and exposed them to light, creating negative images. This process was not new, camera-less photographic images had been produced since the 1830s but in his photograms, (or should I say rayographs) Ray embraced the possibilities for irrational combinations or arrangements of objects, emphasizing the abstract images made from this technique.
Man Ray was an artist of many talents. He directed a number of influential avant-gard short films, known as Cinema Pur. He directed Le Retour à la Raison (2 mins, 1923); Emak-Bakia (16 mins, 1926); L’Étoile de Mer (15 mins, 1928); and Les Mystères du Château de Dé (27 mins, 1929). He also assisted Marcel Duchamp with the cinematography of his film Anemic Cinema (1926), and Ray personally manned the camera on Fernand Léger’s Ballet Mécanique (1924). In René Clair’s film Entr’acte (1924), he appeared in a brief scene playing chess with Duchamp.
His sense of humor!.
According to his many famous friends he was really fun to be with! I can imagine him mesmerizing every one at the table with his stories about how he fled paris in WWII and about the many famous people he photographed such as Picasso, Salvador Dali, Peggy Guggenheim and the eccentric Marchesa Luisa Casati to name a few.
I couldn’t ask for better company!