“Most people hide behind a socially attractive mask. Others lose their composure in front of a camera. Lighting and photographic equipment are less important to the portraitist than psychology and conversation. If he uses them effectively, sometimes in the short span of a sitting a miracle happens. A fragment of evanescent truth is captured and instant eternity (simply add hypo!) is born.“
– Philippe Halsman
The word hypo evokes nostalgia – I miss the darkroom!
(Hypo – a trademark of Kodak- is a clearing agent used to remove fixer from films and fiber-based paper to shorten the washing time and also enable washes at lower temperatures practical.)
I was reintroduced to the fine work of Philippe Halsman when I met and photographed Austin Ratner this past August. Austin Ratner spent five years researching the life of Philippe Halsman and wrote the highly acclaimed novel, “The Jump Artist”
In addition to his renown portraits of celebrities, politicians, and intellectuals of the period of time between 1940-1970s, Philippe Halsman was also known for his “jump” pictures which include popular comedians of the time (Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Groucho Marx) and (then) Vice President Richard Nixon jumping. To learn more about Philippe Halsman, http://www.npg.si.edu/exh/halsman/intro.htm.