Friday, August 26, 2016
When I first started photographing, my biggest influence was Man Ray. My earliest successful images often looked like Man Ray photographs. Not so much any more, but that connection is still embedded in me, and that aesthetic still seeps into more than a few newer images. Perhaps the one below fits that bill. Early on, I used to think that his images were more by chance than deliberate methods. I saw a wonderful retrospective on him at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, back in 1998, which showed how dramatically he would crop images. It also showed how he used myth making to his advantage— he would make up fabulous stories about how many of his photographs came about by happy accident, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. His name is a good example of how intentional he was about anything that he did. His real name was Emmanuel Radnitzky— but he cropped it, and cropped it well. He didn't become Manny Radnik or Ritzy Manuel. He folded and trimmed his name so that the new one would have a shiny new meaning- half human, half light. Man Ray cropped with flair, and chance had nothing to do with it.