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Photo of the Week #170

Ray K. Metzker

Five vertically stacked rows of black and white multiple exposure photos depicting pedestrians in a city from afar.

Low Cost Ride, 1965/1990
Five gelatin silver prints 
16 x 13 1/2" image | 27 x 24" mount 
Unique (from an intended edition of 5)


December 6, 2021
Originally photographed in 1965, it took Ray Metzker 25 years to realize the potential in the roll of film that makes up this work. In the mid-60's Ray was fully immersed in constructing multiple-print works he titled Composites—efforts which culminated in his solo show of a dozen large-scale Composites at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1967. A quarter century later Metzker fruitfully revisited the materials and methods from that period. 

In the 1960’s Ray was, in his words, “thinking of the entire roll of film as one negative” and his multiple exposures were masterfully woven together into a continuous flow of imagery. Looking at his old negatives, Metzker discovered both untapped potential and newfound freedom. He remarked that in the 1960’s he felt obliged to remain “in the ballpark of photography”—returning to this work, he felt liberated from these self-imposed constraints and pushed his work further into free-flowing abstraction.

Ray printed the strips and assembled them in 1990, with the intention of making an edition of five. Only this one was completed, and sold to a Midwest collector. This marvelous and unique piece is now back on the market for the first time since its original purchase.