Philippe Halsman’s current exhibition at the Jeu de Paume is a retrospective highlighting the photographer’s long and successful career. From celebrity portraits to artistic endeavors, Halsman captured hundreds of moments with his precise nature and strong visual identity. His illustrious career and brushes with fame have led to collaborations with Salvador Dali, Marilyn Monroe and to be named the most prolific LIFE magazine cover photographer. Inspired by the people around him and their surrealist tendencies, Halsman often uses simple concepts to show stars and celebrities in a way quite never seen before.
Jumpology is a series that Halsman carried out throughout his life, capturing a huge number celebrities and figures for the series. At the end of shoots, Halsman would ask simply for the sitter to jump, conceding that it made them give up all pretenses. From this approach Halsman took many photos simply of people jumping that convey a strong energy.
The Jeu de Paume “Astonish Me” exhibition charts the rise of the photographer throughout his life and many of his different projects. Occupying several rooms on the upper floor of the gallery, the exhibition leads to a broad selection of works being included in the exhibition. Although Halsman often collaborated, his style and aesthetic is always evident through his work. Even his extensive work with Salvador Dali has a strong Halsman aesthetic that is demonstrated through his experimental image making.
The Jeu de Paume exhibit charts the rise of one of the most prolific photographers of recent years, showing how image-makers can make and shape the face of a generation.
Text by Harriet Welch