The Jewish Photographer Who Got Marilyn Monroe to Jump



Albert EinsteinAlfred HitchcockMarilyn MonroeSalvador Dalí

These celebrities are just a few of those captured in iconic portraits by Riga-born Jewish photographer Philippe Halsman during his storied career shooting covers for Life magazine throughout the 1950s and 60s.

A brilliant technician gifted with the acumen for revealing the inner life of his subjects, Halsman (1906-1979) captured the likenesses of world-renowned personalities, including a long collaboration with the famous Surrealist painter, Dalí.

In his trademark “Jump” shots, Halsman created pictures in which his subjects appear to float in midair, propelled upwards by the force of their own exuberant vitality. And it may just stand for Halsman’s triumph over the tragic events of his early life.

Convicted after two rigged trials in 1930, Halsman served two years for his father’s murder during a family vacation in the Tyrol and served two years in prison, although worldwide public attention proclaimed him the innocent victim of the region’s virulent anti-Semitism. Eventually pardoned, Halsman moved to Paris, where he began the career that would eventually take him to the center of American cultural life.

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