Today would have been the 122nd birthday of Emmanuel Radnitzky, more commonly known as Man Ray. The avant-garde photographer and painter was born in Philadelphia in 1890, but spent most of his early life in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, followed by Manhattan.

Although he would go on to spend a bulk of his life in Paris (where he died in 1976), while here he studied art at the Ferrer center, held his first solo show at the Daniel Gallery in 1915, and in 1916 he showed his first proto-Dada object, titled Self-Portrait. He would also start the Société Anonyme with Katherine Dreier and Marcel Duchamp, which hosted the International Exhibition of Modern Art at the Brooklyn Museum in 1926. Duchamp and Man Ray had formed the New York branch of the Dada movement, and published one issue of New York Dada in 1920. "For Man Ray, Dada's experimentation was no match for the wild and chaotic streets of New York. He wrote that 'Dada cannot live in New York. All New York is dada, and will not tolerate a rival.'" He moved to Paris the following year.

Man Ray started working on his photographs around 1918, many of which are better known as Rayo­graphs. But you probably know his work best from his surrealist photograph "Le violon d’Ingres," which shows his lover Kiki de Montparnasse with the F holes of a violin painted on her back.

Here's a short film, circa 1928, by Man Ray: