“Soul Camera” Halsman

  Philip Halsman was born in Latvia in 1906. He was exposed to the camera at an early age and fell in love with this magical thing. Although the film was not available at the time, to take a photo requires a glass dry film negative, and then develop the bottom plate, the entire operation is quite complicated, but Halsman still learned to take pictures without a teacher. At the age of 15, when he first took pictures of his sister, he became a “royal” photographer for family and friends. In the filming, Halsman found that there was another person hidden on each face, which was fleeting and difficult to capture, but once fixed, it could better reflect the inner world of the person being photographed. Therefore, this feeling became the goal he pursued throughout his life.
  In 1930, his sister married far away in Paris and went to the wedding. Halsman fell in love with this artistic city, so he stayed in Paris and became a photographer specializing in portraits.
  During his time in Paris, Halsman discovered that the most fashionable photographic works were pretentious and flashy, which was out of step with his pursuit to explore the inner heart of the character. Halsman cleverly uses light and props to create an atmosphere, which makes the models have a faint interest in their hands and feet, and the works produced make people feel a kind of heart throbbing.
  Gradually, Halsman became famous in the Paris photography world. Many celebrities and fashion magazines threw olive branches to him. For a time, he became the best portrait photographer in Paris. But just when he wanted to show his skills, World War II broke out. In 1940, Halsman fled Paris to New York after all the hardships. At this time, he had only a box and a camera on his hand, and everything had to be started from scratch.
  In New York, no one knows Halsman ’s fame. He is just a refugee seeking a job for survival. But Halsman never dared to forget the pursuit of photography. He used the meager income to purchase equipment such as overpressure and strong floodlights and magnifiers, and learned multiple exposure techniques. He silently accumulated strength, waiting for the opportunity to rise.
  One day in 1942, Halsman met the fashionable girl Connie Ford on the street. He took many photos for her according to his own ideas. After seeing these photos, cosmetics giant Alice Paston settled down on them and used them as advertising photos of “Red Victori” lipsticks. After the ad was launched, it made a sensation in the United States and won the “Master of Arts Gold Award.
  After becoming famous, Halsman began to shoot works exactly according to his pursuit. The camera in his hand became a “microscope”, exploring the souls of various characters.
  Einstein is Halsman’s most respected scientist. He captured Einstein’s clear and slightly melancholic eyes with a lens, exposing the heart of the master of the myth. Halsman communicated with the surrealist painter Dali and took a series of photos such as “Atomic Dali” and “Dali’s Beard” to express Dali’s wild and unrestrained nature.
  The most interesting work that best demonstrates the character’s temperament is the “jump” series shot by Halsman. By shooting the celebrities jumping up, he subverted the image of celebrities in the past and changed people’s inherent perception of celebrities. In this series, the jumping Hepburn has naughty innocence, Princess Grace is elegant and perfect, the Duke and Couple of Windsor are completely without the restraint of gentlemen and noble ladies, and Monroe jumped more than two hundred times before being halted. Mann captured the moment of reaching the soul …
  Halsman captured the soul with a camera and left countless classic works. His black and white portrait photography reached the peak of photography art. Halsman has also achieved great success. In 1945, he was elected as the first chairman of the American Journal Photographers Association. In 1958, he was selected as one of the top ten photographers in the world by the American “Popular Photography” magazine. In 1975, the American Journal Photographers Association Awarded “Lifetime Achievement Award” to Halsman.
  Philip Halsman’s intention to feel, discover, and capture the moment that can best reach the soul has become a great “soul camera”.