Art Term

Photogram

A photogram is a photographic print made by laying objects onto photographic paper and exposing it to light

György Kepes, ‘Hand on Black Ground’ c.1939–40
György Kepes
Hand on Black Ground c.1939–40
Tate
© estate of György Kepes (Imre Kepes and Juliet Kepes Stone)

The technique of creating photographic prints without using a camera (photograms) is as old as photography itself – but emerged again in various avant-garde contexts in the early 1920s.

Artist Man Ray refined and personalised the technique to such an extent that the new prints eventually carried his name ‘rayographs’.

related terms and concepts

  • Rayograph

    Photographic prints made by laying objects onto photographic paper and exposing it to light

  • Photography

    Photography refers to the process or practice of creating a photograph – an image produced by the action of light ...

  • Avant-garde

    As applied to art, avant-garde means art that is innovatory, introducing or exploring new forms or subject matter

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photogram at tate