The Straight and the Bent: Edward Weston and Man Ray Open Access

Dunlap, Jessica (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/kp78gg402?locale=en
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Abstract

This thesis considers the artistic practice and writings of two major modern photographers, Man Ray (1890-1976) and Edward Weston (1886-1958), between the years 1920 and 1940. It analyzes their different approaches to photography through the lens of philosopher Stanley Cavell’s notion of skepticism (as defined in his essay “The Avoidance of Love”), which I argue is an important approach to the problematic status of photography as an art form. Analyzing the choice of specific photographic techniques used by the two photographers, their writings, and the writings by Stanley Cavell and theorist Rosalind Krauss, I conclude that Man Ray’s work displays an active desire to establish a dialogue with the viewer and to overcome the threat of skeptical isolation. Weston’s photographs, by contrast, are characterized by an intense concentration on intricate details, and aim to show viewers that the world is more complex than they know; thus, his photography resonates with Krauss’s skeptical view that “representation must always remain suspect,” for there is always more to reality than meets the eye in representation.

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The Straight and the Bent: Edward Weston and Man Ray………………………………………..9

Figures……………………………………………………………………………………………47

Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………..62

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