Best of the Best: Philippe Halsman


“Of the thousands of people, celebrated and unknown, who have sat before my camera, I am often asked who was the most difficult subject, or the easiest, or which picture is my favorite. This last question is like asking a mother which child she likes the most.” — Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman © self-portrait via Online Browsing

Philippe Halsman (May 2, 1906 — June, 25 1979) was an American portrait photographer who began his photographic career in Paris, France. In the mid 1930s, he owned a photography studio where he took portraits of famous artists and writers through the use of his DIY twin lens reflex camera.

With the help of Albert Einstein, Halsman and his family were able to find their way to America. Over the next 3 decades, his sparkling career went boom as he covered and reported for every leading American magazine. He took stunning portraits of various artists, entertainers, scientists — most of which appeared on LIFE Magazine’s covers, more than a hundred times — a streak no other photographer could ever match!

Halman’s photographic style was graced by his unusually weird imagination and was also fueled by his uncanny technological prowess and wit. He had an eternal fascination with the human face, thus his unparalleled series of portrait photography. He had a collaboration with Salvador Dali for almost 40 years, which rendered one of the most influential photographs in history, the Dali Atomicus.

In the late 1950s, Halsman was named as one of the World’s 10 Greatest Photographers. Below are galleries of his best portraits, including that of Albert Einstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Andy Warhol, Audrey Hepburn, Jean Cocteau, Marilyn Monroe, and of course, Salvador Dali.

Salvador Dali by Philippe Halsman © via Photo Slaves
Jean Cocteau by Philippe Halsman © via Photo Slaves
Alfred Hitchcock, Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein by Philippe Halsman © via Photo Slaves
Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn by Philippe Halsman © via Photo Slaves
“Jump!” by Philippe Halsman © via Photo Slaves

Information and images on this article were derived from Magnum Photos, Online Browsing, Photo Slaves, and Wikipedia.

Which of these admirable Philippe Halsman portraits strike your liking the most? What other portait photographers would you like to be written about? Let us know through a comment below!

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Do you like this article? Read more about the Best of the Best Series. Previously featured portrait photographers and their best shots include Brian Duffy and Irving Penn.

written by basterda on 2012-04-19 #lifestyle #black-and-white #portraiture #best-of-the-best #best-of-the-best-series #classic-photographers #philippe-halsman #portrait-photography

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