Thursday, 22 November 2012

Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman(1906-1979) was born in Riga, Latvia. He was a skilled photographer who took a variety of pictures ranging from people such as celebrities, intellectuals, and politicians, to pictures of surrealism. Using subtle lighting, sharp focus, and close cropping, he created his pictures which were extremely unique for his time, and also included surprising or disturbing focuses to capture his viewers. It also caught the magazine Life’s attention as well, which ultimately earned him recognition around the world.
Working with an artist, Salvador Dali, Halsman created the “Dali Atomicus”, a picture in which the artist, his canvases, furniture, cats, and water were all suspended in mid air.
Halsman had an interesting view in taking pictures. Rather than tell his subjects to tilt their head or look straight ahead, Halsman tried to capture the true person in the picture. He stated, “It can’t be done by pushing the person into position or arranging his head at a certain angle. It must be accomplished by provoking the victim, amusing him with jokes, lulling him with silence, or asking impertinent questions which his best friend would be afraid to voice.” With this mindset he captured a famous picture of Albert Einstein pondering over his actions with the atomic bomb. He also shot pictures of Marilyn Monroe as well as other famous figures. In addition, he created a technique he called “jumpology”, in where he asked his subjects to jump into the air. His belief was that the jump revealed a persons true personality. He said, “When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears.” Philippe Halsman was an extraordinary photographer with a unique view on life. He changed photography forever. 

”This fascination with the human face has never left me. . . . Every face I see seems to hide and sometimes, fleetingly, to reveal the mystery of another human being. . . . Capturing this revelation became the goal and passion of my life."

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