Man Ray’s Portraits of Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Marcel Duchamp & Many Other 1920s Icons

Hemingway Man Ray

When pho­tog­ra­phers spe­cial­ize in por­traits of famous peo­ple, they often speak of find­ing a visu­al way to reveal their oft-pho­tographed sub­jec­t’s rarely exposed nature; to bring their depths, in oth­er words, to the sur­face. Man Ray (1890–1976), the Sur­re­al­ist pho­tog­ra­ph­er and artist, had his own way of doing most every­thing, and he cer­tain­ly had his own approach to celebri­ty por­trai­ture. Take, for exam­ple, his 1923 shot of Ernest Hem­ing­way above, tak­en just a cou­ple years after both the writer and pho­tog­ra­ph­er joined the move­able feast of Paris, which Man Ray would call home for most of his career.

Pound Man Ray

That same year and in that same urban bohemia, Man Ray pho­tographed anoth­er famed man of let­ters, the mod­ernist poet Ezra Pound. You can see the some­what more con­ven­tion­al-look­ing result of that encounter just above. Below, we have a far less con­ven­tion­al-look­ing por­trait from 1922, which takes as its sub­ject the dancer Bro­nisla­va Nijin­s­ka, who per­haps only counts as famous to you if you know the his­to­ry of 20th-cen­tu­ry bal­let — but I say any­one will­ing to appear in a por­trait look­ing that fright­en­ing has earned all the fame they can get.


Mar­cel Duchamp, who appears below, sat for Man Ray in 1921 look­ing less scary than sil­ly, but as one of the wit­ti­est and most artis­ti­cal­ly for­ward-think­ing fig­ures of the era, he sure­ly got the joke. These appear in the book Man Ray: Paris — Hol­ly­wood — Paris, which col­lects 500 of the por­traits Man Ray left in his archives when he died in 1976, all of “mem­bers of Dadaist and Sur­re­al­ist cir­cles, of artists and painters, of writ­ers and US emi­grants of the Lost Gen­er­a­tion, of aris­to­crats, and paragons of the worlds of fash­ion and the­ater.”

Duchamp Man ray

You can sam­ple more such works, which cap­ture as only Man Ray would the natures of such icons as André Bre­ton, Sal­vador Dalí, and Lee Miller, at Mon­do Blo­go. You can also find many more works, in gen­er­al, by Man Ray on the MoMA’s web­site.

via Fla­vor­wire

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Three Essen­tial Dadaist Films: Ground­break­ing Works by Hans Richter, Man Ray & Mar­cel Duchamp

Andy Warhol’s 85 Polaroid Por­traits: Mick Jag­ger, Yoko Ono, O.J. Simp­son & Many Oth­ers (1970–1987)

Philoso­pher Por­traits: Famous Philoso­phers Paint­ed in the Style of Influ­en­tial Artists

Por­traits of Vir­ginia Woolf, James Joyce, Wal­ter Ben­jamin & Oth­er Lit­er­ary Leg­ends by Gisèle Fre­und

Cof­fee Por­traits of John Lennon, Albert Ein­stein, Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe & Oth­er Icons

Col­in Mar­shall writes else­where on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • Malgorzata says:

    Won­de­ful pho­tographs.. Bro­nisla­va Nijin­s­ka (aka Bro­nisława Niżyńs­ka) was a famous Pol­ish-Russ­ian dancer, a great bal­le­ri­na, coop­er­at­ing with Serge Diaghilev (Bal­lets Russ­es) and with Ida Rubin­stein. She was a sis­ter to Vaclav Nijin­sky (Wacław Niżyńs­ki) and a tea­chet to Marie Tallchef, who was the first Native-Amer­i­can bal­le­ri­na in Bal­lets Russ­es.

  • Elma Peter says:

    You all look so stu­pen­dous. You real­ly dished up a hor­ror par­ty! pho­tos booths are sim­ply awesome!One of my favorites themes ever!

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