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Photo of the Week #258

Ray K. Metzker

Framed sequence of abstracted small black and white photos showing a room with striped shadows

Venetian Blinds, 1966
Composite of ten silver gelatin prints mounted to museum board—printed 1982
Image: 9 5/16 x 30 1/16 inches
Mount: 22 x 30 inches
Signed, and editioned in pencil on mount recto
Edition 1/20 (only three, in a projected edition of twenty, were completed)


August 14, 2023
In the 1960s, Ray Metzker arrived at a unique approach to creating continuous images. Building on his experiments with multiple exposures, he began to back up his film between shots, weaving his photos together into one long unbroken picture on the film roll. His prints from those rolls became the building blocks for works like this, which he called his Composites. These works had an innate musicality, with the dancing images on the rows of film prints suggesting musical notations on a staff.

This classic piece is constructed from multiple rolls of exposures, taken in a room striped with the shadows cast by venetian blinds. The broken light is a visual motif particularly well suited for the flicker of Metzker's serial imagery. The marriage of process and subject matter is completed by the way that the alternating rows of lighter and darker film prints resemble the slats in a set of blinds.