Photograms – Student Research (Flora)

Tuesday, 04 December 2012
Photograms – Student Research (Flora)

The application of the concept of the photogram has its roots in the primordial moments of the history of chemical-based photography. During the early 19th century, as iron and silver based photographic processes were being tried, images were made by placing botanical specimens and delicate objects such as lace onto the chemically coated paper and exposing using sunlight. This was done as an alternative to drawing. Although, there is clearly artistic beauty in the arrangements of these objects in even the earliest photograms, it was not until the early 20th century that artists and photographers began to express new ideas via the photogram.

Man Ray produced his Rayographs by arranging translucent and opaque objects on photosensitive materials. He intentionally used objects that were three dimensional in order to create unusual shadows of the objects on the two dimensional photosensitive surface. His techniques included immersing the object in the developer during exposure, and using stationary and moving light sources. Man Ray obviously did not invent the photogram, but he breathed life into the technique and gave it a spirit. He moved to Paris in 1921 where he did professional portraits and fashion photography. It was during this time that Man Ray explored many creative aspects of the photogram. Curtis Moffat worked as an assistant to Man Ray during these years.

Man Ray, La Maison (1931)

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