Ray, Man - Paris Photographs, 1920-34
As I recall discovering this book of photographs, I remember the sense of beauty and mystery that remains undiminished almost seventy years after its original publication. On a formal plane, one can easily understand how Man Ray manipulated the optics of the camera, juxtaposing near and far, object against object, space against object, and tactile against transparent. It is also apparent how he deliberately manipulated the process of photographic printmaking, using unusual tones of black, white, and gray to transform content into spaces, forms and surfaces. However, it is not simply how Man Ray manipulated the technical processes that is significant. What is important is how the images function visually, and how the photograph bridges or breaks the gap between what is perceived and/or imagined.