Philippe Halsman


Classic photographers

Philippe Halsman was yesterday’s celebrities’ favourite photographer. When you look at the photos it’s easy to see why. Check out more samples here. linked to this show that has many production stills from a photo session for/with Salvador Dali. And this page has a nice article about the “Dali Atomicus” (see above).

When I saw that photo for the first time I thought it was a collage. Actually, they really kept throwing that water and those cats until they got the shot: “He suspended an easel, two paintings by Dali (one of which was ‘Leda Atomica’), and a stepping stool; had his wife, Yvonne, hold a chair in the air; on the count of three, his assistants threw three cats and a bucket of water into the air; and on the count of four, Dali jumped and Halsman snapped the picture. While his assistants mopped the floor and consoled the cats, Halsman went to the darkroom, developed the film, and reemerged to do it again. ‘Six hours and twenty-eight throws later, the result satisfied my striving for perfection,’ wrote Halsman in his book ‘Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas’. ‘My assistants and I were wet, dirty, and near complete exhaustion?only the cats still looked like new.’” Brilliant! I don’t think my cats would be as happy if I kept throwing them, though. Well, maybe they’d do it for Dali.