Philippe Halsman: The Father Of Jumpology : The Picture Show He somehow managed to get Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon and countless other to let loose in front of his camera.
NPR logo Philippe Halsman: The Father Of Jumpology

Philippe Halsman: The Father Of Jumpology

In radio, they often say that you get your best tape as soon as the formal interview ends. Sometimes the same thing is true in photography. Philippe Halsman, for example, shot an unsurpassed 101 covers for Life magazine, working with some of the most iconic and influential public figures of that era. And at the end of his sessions, he would ask his models to jump.

More than fifty of these whimsical candids are on display at New York City's Laurence Miller Gallery: Benny Goodman stiff and straight as his clarinet, Salvador Dali in a surreal scene of flying cats and floating chairs, Audrey Hepburn sporting a full-faced grin. Halsman's levity (pun intended) will make you smile.

Actually, the Dali photograph is one of the few in this collection that is posed. The two artists met in Europe in the in 1940s and collaborated frequently through the years. Halsman eventually became one of the most successful portrait photographers in the 1950s. You may have seen his portraits of Dali, Albert Einstein and countless others.

It must have taken some real charisma to convince both Marilyn Monroe and Richard Nixon to jump. Halsman's story is fascinating and worth exploring. You can learn more here and here.