I went to the Man Ray portrait exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. I like Man Ray’s work so I was excited to go. I really like portrait photography and because this is in the portrait gallery I thought it would be something I enjoy.

The exhibition itself, was laid out through the different eras of his life for example Paris, New York and Hollywood. I felt it would have been better laid out if each era is in a separate rooms. The photos started to merge together and it is hard to separate each era’s photographs. This would allow this idea of a journey between each room like you are going on the journey too. Like the viewer is following him from place to place, as there would be physical space between each city and era. I felt there were a lot of photos, maybe too many. I found my mind wondering, so if there was a space to walk without photos it would allow a break. The space was quite small and as there was many people in one space, I felt I needed a break ever-son-often. With the space the gallery had the exhibition was not laid out in a way that you could see all the photos from each era at once. I would have to dart across each side of the room, something I did not appreciate at the time. At the end I found that I had missed half the photographs.

However, the pictures themselves were really nice. I thought it was a good overview of his life and for someone who might not know Man Ray they would of got to know him through this exhibition. I particularly liked the photos he took of Lee Miller, Kay Boyle and Catherine Deneuve (in the Times Magazine article). I felt the images were simple yet effective for example the one of Kay Boyle had an extremely low depth of field where only the tip of Boyle’s nose is in focus. There is another photo of Ray’s earlier work of a woman sitting with her heard in her hands but he positioned her in the bottom left of the frame. There is a photograph of Lee Miller, which has been solarized, I thought it was really interesting seeing the tone of a portrait change and this is something I was to try myself.

Overall, I thought it was a good insight into Man Ray, albeit a little crowded.


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