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Photo of the Week #161

Ray K. Metzker

Black and white photograph by Ray Metzker showing a child in light and sad from a grilled doorway in Spain—shot in 1960

Spain, 1960
vintage gelatin silver print
8 x 10 in” 


October 2, 2021

On October 9, 2014, Ray Metzker passed away. We celebrate what would have been his 90th year with this beautiful picture taken in Spain in 1960.
In 1959, while completing his Masters Degree at the Institute of Design in Chicago, Metzker's photographs achieved considerable attention, from Edward Steichen's purchase of ten prints for the Museum of Modern Art, to selections for major museum group exhibitions including Photography in the Fine Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Photography at Mid-Century at the George Eastman House.
In April, 1960, Metzker gathered his savings, sailed to Germany, bought a Volkswagen, and travelled across Europe for twenty-one months. As the temperatures dropped, he headed south, and when he arrived in Spain, with its glorious sunlight and dark shadows, he discovered his deeply personal vision of balancing humanity, touched by brilliant sunlight, within large swaths of darkness. This blend of deep feelings for life intertwined with dramatic light and shadow became a cornerstone of his singular achievements in photography over the next fifty years.