Who was the man behind the camera who made famous people jump in the air? A state of mind, as if there were losing their masks and showing the act of letting conventions go – this was a true natural and personal insight of famous personalities auch as Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis, who are used to being put flawlessly into limelight. The inventor of jumpology, Philippe Halsman, was not just a famous photographer, but an experimenter of different techniques and a wide range of activities – his whole life. It was Salvador Dalí with whom he was working more than 30 years, from this period you can find portraits like Dalí Atomicus or Dalí’s Mustache.
“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.”
Philipp Halsman was a master of versatility; his protfolio offers a wide range of portraits, reportages, advertising, fashion and private projects. Philippe Halsman was born in Riga, Latvia in 1906 and began his career in the 30s of Paris. After Germany invaded in France in 1940, Halsman fled to New York and collaborated with magazines like Life, Vogue, Vu or Voilà. Even of he did a lot of celebrity portraits – naming Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Duke Ellington, Albert Einstein and Richard Nixon – he was not a celebrity photographer. His work had been exhibited several times at the avant-garde Pléiade gallery alongside other photographers including Man Ray, André Kertész and Brassaï. He was famous for breaking boundries, someone who was thinking outside of the box with a high level of technical perfection and a huge affection for the little things – you just have to think about his ability to bring famous people jump in front of his camera and lose their inhibitions.
This and all in all almost 300 works – exclusive images and original documents – are presented in this retrospective exhibition, which is an hommage to one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century.
Philippe Halsman: “Astonish Me!”
Jeu de Paume
1 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris
until 24 January 2016
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, 1951; Alfred Hitchcock, 1962 © 2015 Philippe Halsman Archive / Magnum Photos
Louis Armstrong, 1966 © 2015 Philippe Halsman Archive / Magnum Photos