Capturing an image of someone jumping is really harder than it seems. You are most likely to have made several attempts with the ‘jumpee’ losing energy and enthusiasm with each successive take. But Philippe Halsman seems to have mastered the art especially when you begin to ask every famous personality you meet to pose for a jump shot. Since in the very act of jumping, the jumpee’s attention is mostly directed to the act of jumping, the mask they usually carry tends to fall away. The end result is a brilliant show of limbs and smiles.
Halsman counted Albert Einstein among his close friends and even took the famous Einstein portrait that featured on the cover of TIME in 1999. He worked with Salvador Dali and Alfred Hitchcock and was even lucky enough to have Marilyn Monroe pose for him. His adult life began quite dramatically when at 22 he was accused of murdering his father while they were out on a hike. Later released from prison he soon had to escape Europe to get away from the war. Moving to the US, he made a name for himself as an expert portrait photographer and had his images feature in many a Life and Vogue spread.
We’re inspired by the poise in his jumps and by the fact that though essentially the same action, no two images are alike.
If you like Halsman’s jumps, check out his 1959 Jump Book that features 178 photographs of jumping celebrities. There’s also a movie Jump that’s based on the murder mystery that surrounds his father’s death.