Room 5: Anatomies

Man Ray Lee Miller (Neck) 1930

Man Ray
Lee Miller (Neck) 1930
A. & R. Penrose © Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2001

Images of women, particularly the nude, dominate surrealist photography. Unlike conventional images of the female body, the use of unusual lighting and darkroom techniques emphasises their artificiality. The figure is often distorted and in several photographs in this selection, the head has been cropped out.

The capacity of desire to transform reality is evoked by images like Man Ray’s Anatomies (1929), in which the angle of the model’s tilted head and neck makes her flesh resemble an erect penis. The model is believed to be the photographer Lee Miller, Man Ray’s lover. In her own photograph, Nude Bent Forward (c1931), Miller twins male and female form in a similar fashion.