Ray K. Metzker died the other day. He was 83. He was a master photographer who pursued his art with great intensity. He studied at the Chicago Institute of Design a school that was descended from the Bauhaus. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy developed the photography program, thus Metzker was heir to this modernist influence. Others who studied and taught at this institution were Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Both were Metzker’s mentors while he was in graduate school at the Institute of Design. Ray Metzker repeatedly pursued an idea or a style discovering its limits and its potential. With the conclusion of each of these forays to the edge, he felt as if he had exhausted that topic, and would change his photographic style to something new and different.
His different series represent his artistic vision that merged modern life’s realities with the expressive characteristics intrinsic to photography. He also did a lot of work making composites of multiple photographs. He was also known for his high key black and white images He continuously pushed photography to its limits, much the same way Harry Callahan pursued his photographic art. Both were more concerned with photographic expression than they were just making a nice picture.

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