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Ray Metzker Photographs

"There's kind of a duality in me: on the one hand I started out dealing with events, the description of the street, the description of the city, description of situations people find themselves in, people relating to themselves. Let's call it the visible. But there's something else in me that wants to deal with the other side. The results may be read as visual mysteries. I think that's a very strong pull."  -- Ray Metzker


Ray Metzker ('53), born September 10, 1931, in Milwaukee, has been interested in photography since the age of thirteen when he purchased a Kodak developing kit. It was natural for him to pursue a degree in art at Beloit College where he was influenced by faculty members Clark Fitz-Gerald, John Rembert, and Frank Boggs. While a student and after graduation, Metzker was employed by the Beloit College News Service to photograph campus events.

This online exhibit is dedicated to this beginning where Metzker experimented with line, form, and light to create truly inspired and unusual public relations photographs while working for the News Service from 1951 to 1953. Unlike typical publicity photos, Metzker's work shows the force of his talent. Most interesting is his willingness to cut off faces or use unusual angles to achieve interesting pictures. His work leads the viewer into a frame or a moment in the life of Beloit College, capturing the essential flavor of life in the early 1950s.

Metzker's work is marked by the high contrast between the black background and the subject as well as his fascination with the juxtaposition of linear elements with non-linear. These elements are also visible in his news service works.

More Metzker photos