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Philippe. Halsman.

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  1. Philippe Halsman

  2. “…in other art forms the artist can start from nothing – an empty canvas, a lump of clay – then follow his imagination. The photographer, however, must first point his camera at concrete reality before he can photograph what is in his mind. No other art form can create an image with greater ease. The difficulty lies in creating an image with a uniqueness of beauty that will make a work of art” -Philippe Halsman

  3. Born in 1906 in Riga, Latvia, Philippe was raised in a loving family, who enjoyed traveling and were passionate about education. When Philippe was 14 he became the official family photographer when he discovered an attachment to his fathers camera. After developing a glass plate negative of his younger sister he was inspired to, from then on, spend all his extra money on photographic supplies. In 1924 he decided to study electrical engineering and took off to Dresden to a highly reputed university. (Rosenberg, Oliver. Unknown Halsman. D.A.P/Distributed Art Publishers Inc. 2008) Philippe Halsman: Self

  4. Portraits seen above: Bob Hope, 1952. Georgia O’Keeffe, 1967. Marilyn Munroe, 1952. Albert Einstein, 1947. Audrey Hepburn, 1954. Frank Sinatra, 1944.

  5. A Symphonic Decomposition Europe Trip At the age of twenty-two, Philippe accompanied his mother and father on visit to the Tyrolean alps in Austria. A trip that would greatly alter the course of his life. On their way down a mountain Philippe’s father had been savagely beaten and robbed. As an outsider with language and behavior the locals were unaccustomed to he aroused suspicion, and they held him until the police arrived. He was charged with patricide, of killing ones father and sentenced to ten years solitary confinement. (Rosenberg, Oliver. Unknown Halsman. D.A.P/Distributed Art Publishers Inc. 2008)

  6. “Photography is our only means to capture and preserve the present. But the present does not exist: it is an illusion, an evanescent borderline of the future suddenly turning into the past.” -Philippe Halsman

  7. Prison life certainly changed Philippe. Through letters he wrote to his girlfriend over the years we can be witnesses to his suffering. He was in mental anguish, submerged in depression. Yet, this was also a time of growth for him. In a 1929 retrial his sentence was educed to 4 years, and to him he felt that “a period of luck must follow all this tragedy.” At the end of 1930, because of Liouba’s perseverance, Philippe was released. The experience was a serious break in reality for Philippe. He could not live as he did prior to what happened, so he moved to Paris and tried to finish his engineering degree. But found his heart was not in it. A few months before graduation he dropped out to become one of the most famous portrait photographers in history.(Rosenberg, Oliver. Unknown Halsman. D.A.P/Distributed Art Publishers Inc. 2008)

  8. Philippe saw that there was more than the superficiality his peers were producing. He turned away from what was popular and set out to capture, as a photograph, the range of emotions he felt. His previous training led to his emphasis on precision. In his tiny hotel room he experimented with lighting setups and their psychological affects on mood. (Rosenberg, Oliver. Unknown Halsman. D.A.P/Distributed Art Publishers Inc. 2008)

  9. Later Works: Philippe started to contribute to magazines such as Vogue and slowly started making a name for himself. In 1942 he found work with Life, and later started to collaborate with famous painter Salvador Dali. He did covers for Time and was also commissioned by NBC to photograph popular comedians.

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