The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker and the Institute of Design

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Valencia, 1961 Gelatin Silver Print. The Nelson Atkins Museum Of Art, Gift Of The Hall Family Foundation, 2009.71.20 © Ray K. Metzker
The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker and the Institute of Design

1200 Getty Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
September 25th, 2012 - February 24th, 2013
Opening: September 25th, 2012 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM

santa monica/venice
Tue-Fri, Sun 10-5:30; Sat 10-9. Closed Mondays and on January 1, July 4 (Independence Day), Thanksgiving, and December 25 (Christmas Day).


Ray K. Metzker (born 1931) is known for finely crafted black-and-white prints that probe photography's expressive potential through multiple and composite images, high contrast, and selective focus.

Metzker's work is part of a revered tradition that emerged from the experimental approach of Chicago's Institute of Design (ID), where he received his graduate degree in 1959. Inspired by instructors Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, Metzker fashioned an entirely personal synthesis of formal elegance, technical precision, and optical innovation.

His composite works hold an important status in the history of creative photography: at the time of their making, they were unprecedented in ambition and perceptual complexity. Metzker's devotion to photographic seeing as a process of discovery is also deeply humanistic in its illumination of isolation and vulnerability.

This exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of Metzker's five-decade career, while also providing examples of work by instructors and fellow students at the Institute of Design in Chicago, where Metzker studied from 1956 to 1959. Learn more about Metzker's diverse forays into photography as well as the ID and its profound influence.

The Photographs of Ray K. Metzker and the Institute of Design was organized in collaboration with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The J. Paul Getty Museum has added photographs from its own collection and other key loans.