Philippe Halsman

"Some of my colleagues think I damage my reputation as a serious photographer by publishing 'silly and tricky' manipulated photographs like the ones I did of Dali -- which mostly expressed abstract ideas. I believe they are wrong." –P.H.

Philippe Halsman (Latvian: Filips Halsmans; 2 May 1906 – 25 June 1979); American portrait photographer. Born in Riga in the part of the Russian Empire which later became Latvia, and died in New York City.

Born to a Jewish couple, Morduch (Maks) Halsman, a dentist, and Ita Grintuch, a grammar school principal. He studied electrical engineering in Dresden.

In Sept. 1928, 22-year-old Halsman was accused of his father's murder while they were on a hiking trip in the Austrian Tyrol, an area rife with antisemitism. After a trial based on circumstantial evidence he was sentenced to 4 years in prison. His family, friends and barristers worked for his release, getting support from important European intellectuals including Freud, Einstein, Thomas Mann, Henri Hertz, and Paul Painlevé, who endorsed his innocence. He was pardoned and released in 1930.

Halsman consequently left Austria for France. He began contributing to fashion magazines such as Vogue and soon gained a reputation as one of the best portrait photographers in France, renowned for images that were sharp rather than in soft focus as was often used, and closely cropped. When France was invaded by Germany, Halsman fled to Marseille. He eventually managed to obtain a US visa, aided by family friend Albert Einstein (whom he later famously photographed in 1947).

He had his first success in America when Elizabeth Arden used his image of model Constance Ford against the American flag in an advertising campaign for "Victory Red" lipstick.

...In 1941 Halsman met Salvador Dalí; they began to collaborate in the late 1940s.

...In 1947 Halsman made what was to become one of his most famous photos of a mournful Albert Einstein, who...
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Moenen Erbuer


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