Ray K. Metzker is an American photographer known for both his work in cityscape and landscape photography. Metzer is acknowledged as one of photography’s true innovators since the early 1960’s.
Early in his career, his work was marked by unusual intensity. Composites, multiple-exposure, superimposition of negatives, juxtapositions of two images, solarization and other formal means were part and parcel of his vocabulary. He was committed to discovering the potential of black and white photography during the shooting and the printing, and has shown consummate skill in each stage of the photographic process. Ray Metzker’s unique and continually evolving mastery of light, shadow and line transform the ordinary in the realm of pure visual delight.
He dedicated his career to exploring the formal potentials of black and white photography over the course of more than a dozen distinct bodies of work. Through cropping, multiple imagery, and other formal inventions, his work explores options for transforming the vocabulary of the photograph. From urban streetscapes and multiple imagery in the form of constructed composites, to dense and tangled landscapes, to mysterious and pure abstractions, Metzker has proven himself time and time again a master interpreter of the medium.
Yet his work does not rest solely on its inventiveness. While experimenting with multiple exposures, unusual juxtapositions, and the unexpected use of light and darkness, Metzker has imbued his images with an emotional resonance. By bisecting a streetscape with an intense ribbon of sunlight or a dense wall of shadow, he is able to evoke a feeling of hope or an aura of menace. It is this remarkable balance between technical virtuosity and humane considerations that has continued to make his work compelling over five decades.