Philippe Halsman was a German photographer who lived between 1906 and 1979. He began his career in Paris where he photographed artists and writers. He used a camera that he designed himself. It had twin lenses.
By 1940, Halsman had moved to the USA. Fleeing from the Nazi hold on Germany. His good friend, namely, Albert Einstein, helped to get him a Visa. By 1958, he had made a name for himself. He joined other photographers, including, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Together, they formed an academy known as The Famous Photographers School.
In 1941, Halsman began a long collaboration with well known artist and surrealist front man, Salvador Dali. Their work would keep them busy for thirty-one years. Salvador Dali inspired Halsman to make some of his most important and well known work, which includes, the “Dali Atomicus” and a series of photographs that focused on Dali’s moustache.
Today, you can see Halsman’s work in numerous museums across the world. Such museums include, the International Center of Photography, in New York. His most famous exhibition is called Halsman, a Retrospective. This collection of work has traveled across the world and has been exhibited in the Tate Gallery, in London, and the Hotel de Sully, in Paris.
Halsman also wrote many books about photography. And his photographs have been published. Halsman Portraits was published in 1983, four years after his death. His book, titled, Philippe Halsman’s Jump Book, was first published in 1959. It contained portraits of famous people jumping. It was republished in 1986. Both books were published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
It is clear that Halsman focused on portraiture. But he also took many surrealist photographs while he worked with Dali. He will always be remembered for his portraits of famous individuals. However, one cannot deny Halsman’s genius in the surrealist movement. Dali himself accredited Halsman as one of the greatest photographers of his time.