Photographer Research 1 – Man Ray

Man Ray was an american visual artist, born in 1890, who was best know for his fashion and portrait photography, he played a major role in the Surrealist and Dada movements.

His work has inspired some ideas of my project because of his surrealist photography and inventive ideas. Below is an example of his photography:

‘Les Larmes’ was taken in 1932. This cropped image was photographed with a film camera, it is a very close up shot of a model’s face, most likely taken in a studio setting with a very bright lighting and possibly a flash. The angle of this image is a very important aspect of this image as it creates a more dramatic and cinematic effect. There is also a contrast with the black and white colours of the light skin, and dark make-up; this again gives the image a dramatic effect and also makes the image stand out. Moreover, the actual subject of the photograph is very important in this image, it creates a sense of mystery due to the glass tears and the direction in which the model is looking. After researching this image further, I found out that this image is a sign of grief, then it is suggested that the glass tears could possibly be a sign of insecurity. Overall, this image has inspired me due to the mystery it brings and the create angles and composition, after researching this image it has given me a few more ideas for my photoshoots.

man ray

The back story behind this particular image is very interesting, in 1972 Charlie Watts, the drummer of The Rolling Stones, met with Man Ray and asked if he would design the cover for the groups album, Exile on Main street. Man Ray then designed the image above which was inspired by their first single from the album, Tumbling Dice; this image it most famously known as being the the great record cover that never happened. Although this album cover is not entirely photography based, it has definitely inspired my final shoot in which I will be creating album covers because of the creativity and idea of the album cover.

This image is from Many Ray’s book ‘Man Ray: Bazaar Years’. Again, this image looks like it was taken in a studio setting, but this time using not as bright and bold lighting. From researching this image, I believe it was from a fashion book. Although the model is not the only focal point of this image I believe that is effective because it still looks like it could be in a fashion magazine, the composition has been done very well, it is very dramatic and classy at the same time. Furthermore, this image has also inspired some ideas for future photoshoots due to its different compositions and dramatic lighting, whilst still looking very classy and proper.


Man Ray used a film camera in his photography work, this is due to the digital camera not being invented yet. Furthermore, all his photography is in black and white; this is also because colour photography wasn’t around his day. Man Ray specialised in Portrait and Fashion photography, he done loads of work for Vogue Magazine and many famous publications in France, which is where he spent most of his career.

From looking through his photography work, most of his portraiture is taken close up, with not much room left for a background; this is very effective because it shows off the glamour of his models. A lot of his work is surreal, which is a genre of photography and art that he greatly influenced. He created surreal images with lighting and props, sometimes making his subject blurry, which gave them a creepy look about them, or merging the same images together multiple times to create an abstract portrait. These images can be seen below:


Overall, Man Rays photography has inspired me to create dramatic images using bold lighting and interesting compositions. When doing my photoshoots, I am going to try to take what I has learnt from Man Rays photographs and try to apply it in to my own photography.







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