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Photo of the Week #247

Grid of black and white photographs, each showing a Navy sailor in white standing in stark contrast to a deep black background.

Philadelphia: Sailors II, 1964
25 vintage gelatin silver prints
On 10 x 10 inch mount
Signed on verso
Unique Composite


May 26, 2023
This piece is a fine summation of Ray K. Metzker’s two main focuses during his fertile period working in Philadelphia in the 1960s: his dramatically abstract approach to street photography, and his exploration of the serial image. Ray was an accomplished darkroom printer and his meticulous adjustments to the sequence of repeated photographs achieves a rhythmic musicality. Metzker takes a timeless image—Navy sailors walking through the city on shore leave—and transforms it into a complex visual statement, while still preserving the poignant humanism of the subject.