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Photo of the Week #34

Ray K Metzker

Ray K Metzker, Chicago, 1959

Ray K Metzker, Chicago, 1959


May 8, 2019
Perhaps more than any other picture produced by Ray Metzker, this enduring image, created near the end of Ray's studies at the Institute of Design, and precursor to his later groundbreaking "Composites," has generated endless inquiries into how it was made.

Metzker shot this picture in the summer of 1959, using a Rolleiflex 2-1/4 camera. Standing at the bottom of a stairway beneath Lake Shore Drive, the photograph was arrived at by a process of exposing a single frame of the 2 1/4" film twenty-five times. The focusing screen on his viewfinder was marked with a grid which allowed Metzker to line up his exposures, creating the final composition. It's a measure of this picture's enduring quality and mystery that it loses none of its power even when the technique behind its making is revealed.