Man Ray (August 27, 1890 - November 18, 1976) was an American Dadaist photographer and film director.
Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia, while also being a painter, object-maker, and avant-garde film maker, he is best known as a surrealist photographer, producing his first significant photographs in 1918.
He was living in New York City, and with his close friend Marcel Duchamp formed the American branch of the Dada movement, which began in Europe as a radical rejection of traditional art. After a few unsuccessful experiments, and notably after the publication of a unique issue of New York Dada in 1920, Man Ray stated that "Dada cannot live in New York" and in 1921 went to live and work in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris during the era of great creativity. It was there that he fell in love with the famous French singer, Kiki (Alice Prin), often referred to as Kiki de Montparnasse, who later also became his favorite photographic model.
With Jean Arp, Max Ernst, André Masson, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso, he was represented in the first Surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Pierre in Paris in 1925.
For the next twenty years in Montparnasse, Man Ray revolutionized the art of photography. Great artists of the day such as James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau and numerous others posed for his camera. In 1934, famous surrealist artist known for her fur-covered tea cup, Méret Oppenheim posed for Man Ray in what became a very well-known series of photographs depicting the surrealist artist nude, standing next to a printing press. Together with the surrealist photographer Lee Miller — who was his lover and photography assistant at the time — he invented the photographic technique of solarization. Man Ray is also known for creating a technique using photograms he called rayographs.
Later in life, Man Ray returned to the United States, where he lived in Los Angeles, California for a few years. However, he called Montparnasse home and he returned there where he died on November 18, 1976 and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, France. His epitaph reads: Unconcerned, but not indifferent.