Compare & Contrast: Man Ray & Lotti Jacobi

Lotti Jacobi (at the NMWA)

Man Ray Foundation ©

I've been going through my older National Museum of Women in the Arts journals (a quarterly publication for members) and re-discovered the museum was gifted this Lotti Jacobi--Niura Norskaya, dancer, gelatin silver print, 1930.

During the 80s, say between 1982 and 1989, I was an avid photographer, Nikons (F, F2, Nikkormat) in hand, lens wrapped around my shoulder, and a sturdy, varied collection of camera bags to grab for various outings.

I was often on my Raleigh so sturdy was important but light didn't seem to hamper me much.

Unfortunately in a move from New York to Providence every single one of my photographs disappeared, totally disappeared--all the negatives, prints, everything. It was and remains a mystery how this happened but it did me in and I stopped taking photographs for years.

Before I left Rhode Island, I sold much of my equipment to an avid, young photographer who paid me for the cameras and lens over a period of a year.


I retained three of the cameras, one of which is a Nikkermat, circa 1970s. Unfortunately, it is among the heaviest of the period of Nikons, but I had some sentimental attachment to it then that totally eludes me today.

It is likely as my memory starts to kick in that I gave up photography when my cellar flooded and hundreds of art books were destroyed including all of my photography books.

I had a massive collection of these, as one of my dreams was to open a photography gallery.

It seemed like an omen.

Lotti Jacobi and Man Ray, established photographers of their day, remain so today and have always been among my favourites.

Today I see a similarity in intent, vision and subject matter.

Zoe, Maid at Athens, Julia M. Cameron (Metropolitan Museum) ©

I also see some similarity in subject matter in Julia Margaret Cameron's work, a brilliant Victorian photographer, whose work preceded theirs by more than 50 years.

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