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Posts Tagged ‘Man Ray

“The camera is first a means of self-discovery and a means of self-growth. The artist has one thing to say—himself”*…

 

In this Age of the Selfie, it’s good to remind oneself that the impulse to photographic self-portraiture has a long history… and that, sometimes, that heritage is shrouded in mystery…

He likely hailed from the Midwest, sometimes sported a fedora and smoked a pipe. He dressed in casual plaids or in a suit. His demeanor ranged from jovial to pensive. His hair evolved from thick black to a thinning white widow’s peak. And sometimes, a “Seasons Greetings” sign hung over his head.

We might know a lot about how this man aged, but what we don’t know is his identity or why he took – and saved – more than 450 images of himself in a photobooth over the course of several decades.

This mystery has come to light with “445 Portraits of a Man,” a collection being shown for the first time as part of “Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture,” an exhibition [that was] on display through [last] July at Rutgers’ Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick.

The 445 images – silver gelatin prints owned by photography historian Donald Lokuta – were taken over the three decades from the Great Depression through the swinging ’60s, when the booths were most popular. “There’s quite an age difference in the photos: You see him as younger man and then with a white, receding hairline and wrinkles,” says Lokuta, who came across a few of these images at a New York City antiques show in 2012.

Upon learning that the antiques dealer had hundreds of these portraits of the same man, Lokuta knew he had to keep them together and purchased them all. “As a historian, I knew this was very rare, but on a deeper level, I wondered, ‘Why would somebody want to take almost 500 photos of himself in a photobooth?’ In appearance, they are unremarkable. They look like mugshots, but that’s what makes them special: The sameness, the repetition.”…

Read more about the “Mystery Photobooth Portraits.”

* Minor White

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As we say “cheese,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1928 that the first issue of VU was published.  France’s first weekly French pictorial magazine, VU pioneered the “photographic essay” form and provided a home to contributors that included Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, and André Kertész.

The cover of the first issue of VU

source

 

Written by LW

March 21, 2015 at 1:01 am

All the views that’s fit to print…

June 20, 1965: “Young fans holding aloft bats they were given by the Yankees yesterday at the stadium,” read a caption the day after the team lost a double-header to the Minnesota Twins. The crowd, numbering 72,244, was the largest in four years, provoking the organist to serenade fans with the tune “We’re in the Money.”

The New York Times explains:

For generations, most of the photographs housed in the newsroom archive of The New York Times — known affectionately as “the morgue” — have been hidden away from the public eye in filing cabinets and manila folders.

There are exceptions, of course. The newspaper runs archival photographs every day. Then there are those photos Lens has featured in “The Lively Morgue,” an occasional series we introduced in September 2010. So far, we’ve published 17 collections, ranging in subjects from saucy publicity shots to the art of washing windows.

But we haven’t even made a dent. If we published 10 of our archival images everyday, it would be at least the year 3935 before we’d shown off the entire collection.  That’s one of the reasons we launched “The Lively Morgue,” an all-archives, all-the-time feed on the social blogging site, Tumblr…

An archival photo from The New York Times shows news pictures being sorted in the newspaper’s photo “morgue,” which houses millions of images. Here they are — several each week — for you to see. Welcome to The Lively Morgue.

The Lively Morgue is here.

As we express our gratitude to the Gray Lady, we might recall that it was on this date in 1919 that a less successful editorial venture launched in New York City:  Man Ray published the first (and only) issue of TNT an anarchist journal.   An aspiring artist, he had been moved by the famous 1913 Armory Show, and had befriended Marcel Duchamp.  For the next six years or so, Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky) had done his best to marry his political convictions with his creative impulse (e.g., contributing illustrations to Emma Goldman’s Mother Earth).  But with the failure of TNT, Ray turned more fully to art; his next whack at publishing was New York Dada, a collaboration with Duchamp.  That too failed to make a second number– and Ray departed for France…  where he became part of the Surrealist circle– and an important practitioner of and influence on fine art photography.

 Salvador Dali and Man Ray in Paris (source)

Written by LW

March 1, 2012 at 1:01 am

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