The Photogram

A few years later, in 1921, the American photographer and artist Man Ray moved to Paris and became close friends with two figureheads of the Dada movement, Hans Arp and Tristan Tzara. Tzara introduced Man Ray to Schad’s work, and, though Man Ray never acknowledged the influence, he began making his own contact prints with found objects. He called the resulting images “Rayograms” or “Rayographs”, publishing a volume of them, Les Champs Délicieux,  in 1922, with an introduction by Tzara. The Rayographs were largely abstract in effect, and their rendering of everyday objects as enigmatic oddities resonated with the aims of the Dada movement. Their striking graphic qualities also led to their being used in advertising.

In 1922, the Hungarian Constructivist artist László Moholy-Nagy also began creating cameraless photographic works, referring to them simply as “photograms“. Moholy-Nagy was associated with the Bauhaus and with the New Vision movement in film and photography. Like other figures associated with New Vision, Moholy-Nagy saw the camera as capable of generating a new, objective, and impersonal visual language for art. By allowing for the perception of light itself, and through its capacity for extreme close-up, the camera undid traditional ways of seeing. The photogram, meanwhile, by removing the camera from the creation process, made the photographic image and the subject-matter it depicted one and the same. (Part 2)”

On December 21th 2017 I posted “Tired” and 365 days later…