The PhotoBook

December 1, 2008

Man Ray – Taschen Special Icons

Filed under: Book Reviews, Photo Books — Tags: , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:24 am


All photographs are copyright of Man Ray, courtesy of Taschen

I recently picked up the Man Ray book published by Taschen  (published 2008) as part of their Special Icon series. I could almost afford not to, as the new price was $7.99 USD at Borders. And this is a hardcover book with slip cover no  less. Wow!

This small book (7-5/8 x 5-3/4) has 192 pages, the black and white photographs have been spot varnished and has a forward written by Andre Breton from 1927 (French Dadaist) and a wonderful Introduction written by Emmanuelle De L’Ecotais. The text is in German, French and English (American). Really nice!

Man Ray (b.1890 Emmanuel Rudnitzky, Philadephia – d. 1976 Paris, France) was the American photographer/painter in the middle of both the Dada and Surrealist groups and movements in Paris in the 1920’s – 1940. He was known for early invovation of both his Rayographs (photograms) and the creation of solarization prints. He is also known as the photographer/painter whom Bernice Abbott was the darkroom assistant to when she stumbled across Eugene Atget and his photographs in Paris.

This book and biography are not all inclusive off all Ray’s work, but does includes most of his well known photographs and follows his steps in photographic history. This book is a great collection of photographs by a well known name, but perhaps not well known for his entire body of work. I have not been really searching for a Man Ray book, but I had wanted to have a unified collection of his photographs for future reference. 

Contained within are Ray’s 1932 photograph of Pablo Picasso’s intense eyes and then, his hands. The solorized photographs of the Calla Lilies which have a sensual feel to them, almost erotic. The solorized nudes have wonderful clean lines, much like a gesture drawings. And his Rayographs run the full gamut of complex to simplistic, but a delight to read and think about.

Finding this little gem was impressive and at this price, a highly recommended purchase.








Best regards, Douglas Stockdale


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