Photogram

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"[T]he essential tool of the photographic process is not the camera but the light-sensitive layer." —Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Photograms (or "camera-less photographs") push photography to its logical extreme; they result from exposing photo-sensitive paper directly to light. Any objects blocking the light will leave a white silhouette, while the exposed areas of the paper become black, resulting in a negative image with little or no sense of depth. Widely practiced in botany in the 19th century, beginning in the 1920s this technique gained attention from artists and photographers looking to revolutionize ways of seeing. Invoking photography's literal meaning—"drawing with light"—Moholy-Nagy believed photograms exploited "light as a creative agent," embodying the medium's essence and allowing the photographer to create something never-before-seen, as opposed to merely reproducing the world. Dadaist Man Ray also staked a claim to the medium, naming it the "Rayograph" after himself.

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