Ann Ray (detail) View full image

Ann Ray

Visual Artist, Director and Writer
© Alexander Berg

There is beauty, strength and fragility in everything Ann is doing.

Sarah Burton, Creative Director, Alexander McQueen

Ann Ray is a French visual artist, based in Paris. Starting her career in Tokyo and London, she has been a global force in film and photography since 1997. Many of her works result from her deep connections and collaborations with exceptional artists. As a new species of humanist photographer and film maker, her work contains a poetry charged with timeless elegance and fierce irreverence. 

Ray has always explored the media of photography and film, taking them in many directions. For her McQueen works, driven by a passion for the handcrafted and unique, she explored nineteenth century pictorialist processes: bromoil, gum bichromate, cyanotype and by hand painting on lithograph prints with watercolours and oils. Using these techniques in her own style to match her vibrant subject. Today she continues to explore, using double exposure, collages and virtual reality. 

Her photographs are exhibited worldwide and are represented in numerous private and institutional collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum permanent photography collection. She has worked with Paris Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York and many other theatres for over a decade. She is currently creating an immersive exhibition focussed around her 13 year creative relationship with Lee Alexander McQueen for 2018. While her fifth book, Les yeux fermés/Blind Faith is due to be published during 2017.

The McQueen Project

The McQueen Project is the culmination of Ann Ray's 13 year, artistic collaboration with Lee Alexander McQueen. Over these years the two artists worked together creating a unique collection of images (35000 analog photographs) that recorded the journey and world of McQueen, the man and the artist. 

In 2018 using images created during their collaboration, Ann Ray will create an immersive exhibition, 20 years after her first encounter with Lee McQueen; a celebration of an artistic partnership. Echoing the grandeur, wildness and poetry of an overwhelming artist and close friend.

Engaging the senses, Ray will create an exhibition which will invite the visitor to enter a sensitive universe of mystery, excitement and bewilderment. The viewer will wander through a space inhabited by Lee McQueen and his creatures, transformed through Ray's lens.

Les yeux fermés/Blind Faith

Faith. Faith in humanity. At all depths 

For 13 years Ann Ray has asked exceptionally talented artists to pause for one image. To believe in her and to allow her to take one image of them with their eyes shut. For some it was just a fleeting moment, for others it took long hours. The location was often chosen by the artist and could be anywhere, outside or inside some private place. Pursuing a dream, inside. Eyes wide shut. Blind Faith, Ann Ray's fifth book will be published during 2017. 


Ray's collaborations with artists continues with Almost; an exploration of the essence of a handful of dedicated, great artists. Almost is an ambitious project that aims to expose the core of a few contrasting artists; dancers and actors. Filming them in separate rooms, very close by, the artists will reveal themselves at full exposure. The piece culminates in a final surreal performance, gathering all the artists involved in the project. Using film and photography she will record these moments of truth, giving an audience a unique insight into these artists, usually seen from a distance. The naked truth, almost. 


Most known for her visual practice, Ann Ray is a dedicated writer and speaker. In Impossible Conversations, she uses collages and calligrams to explore the limits of conversation and our difficulty to communicate. The resulting artworks, still images printed on light paper with handwritten messages, will embody messages in a bottle to a beloved or a stranger, echoing all the painful human silences to create an honest and heartfelt correspondence. 


Opera and Dance

From 1997 to 2012 much of Ann Ray's work has been with other creative subjects and in collaboration with visionary artists: Choreographers, dancers, composers, opera singers and conductors. She has worked with Paris Opera, the Metropolitan Opera in New York and many other theatres for over a decade, creating numerous posters, portraits and programmes. At Paris Opera in 2018 she will focus on Alexander Ekman's world premiere Play and Roméo and Juliette by Sasha Waltz. During the 2016 - 2017 season she worked with William Forsythe and Jiri Kylian. At the Metropolitan Opera she has just completed photographing the outstanding soprano Sonya Yoncheva on the eve of her debut in Tosca on 31 December 2017. 

Opera & Dance Posters