T his portrait of Alberto Giacometti, created by Man Ray in 1932, is an example of solarisation: a technique discovered that allowed the artist to highlight the outlines of the face on the background through an inversion of tones.
This technique is said to have been discovered accidentally by the assistant and partner of Man Ray, Lee Miller. As they were printing in the lab, she felt a rat touching her feet. Alarmed by the movement, she screamed and put the light on. "The tanks were full of negatives that were under development. The blacks became whites and a line appeared on the outlines of the figures that seems to have a halo".
Man Ray called this phenomena "solarisation" and started to use it in his work to create unique prints. This technique contributed in producing a surreal effect, which translated a different vision of the reality and added a 'soul' to the photograph. The image subject, sculptor Giacometti is almost sacralised here by this aura, becoming a totem of Parisian artists.
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