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.
Images above (left to right): Valencia, 1961, Ray K. Metzker, gelatin silver print. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2009.71.20. © Ray K. Metzker; Jerome, Arizona, 1949, Aaron Siskind, gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 84.XM.1012.122 © Aaron Siskind Foundation. Banner image: Frankfurt (detail), 1961, Ray K. Metzker, gelatin silver print. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.1960. © Ray K. Metzker