Philippe Halsman, ‘Cover of the magazine Life with a portrait of Marilyn Monroe jumping by Philippe Halsman, November 9’, 1959, Musée de l'Elysée

Image rights: © 2013 Philippe Halsman Archive / Magnum Photos

Philippe Halsman, Astonish Me! at Musée de l'Elysée, 2014

About Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman was at one point considered the best photo-portraitist in France. He had an incessant interest in faces: “Every face I see seems to hide—and sometimes fleetingly reveal—the mystery of another human being.” Halsman’s photographs of politicians, celebrities, and intellectuals were featured widely in magazines like LIFE and Vogue. His more famous subjects included the likes of Marc Chagall, Le Corbusier, Audrey Hepburn, and Albert Einstein. He also had a 37-year collaboration with Salvador Dalí, which resulted in several famous surrealist series including the “Dalí’s Mustache” portraits. In the 1950s, Halsman began asking his sitters to jump in front of the camera, because he noticed that doing so paradoxically seemed to relax people. With his background in engineering, Halsman also made groundbreaking photographic inventions, including a twin-lens reflex camera that allowed the operator to see his sitter through a viewfinder.

Latvian, 1906-1979, Riga, Latvia, based in Paris, France