Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky, August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was an American visual artist who spent most of his career in France. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. He produced major works in a variety of media but considered himself a painter above all. He was best known for his photography, and he was a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. Man Ray is also noted for his work with photograms, which he called “rayographs” in reference to himself.
He made his “rayographs” without a camera by placing objects-such as the thumbtacks, coil of wire, and other circular forms used here-directly on a sheet of photosensitized paper and exposing it to light. Man Ray had photographed everyday objects before, but these unique, visionary images immediately put the photographer on par with the avant-garde painters of the day. Hovering between the abstract and the representational, the rayographs revealed a new way of seeing that delighted the Dadaist poets who championed his work, and that pointed the way to the dreamlike visions of the Surrealist writers and painters who followed.
His rayograph work was an attempt to capture motion in a still image.