Best of the Best: Philippe Halsman

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Erin Emocling, aka basterda, is the editor-in-chief of the Lomography Magazine. She also writes Analogue Lifestyle pieces which are often inclined to classic, noir, and vintage memorabilia. Apart from spreading analogue love, Erin is also a marveller of cinematic films and non-sequitur literature. Check out more on the Best of the Best or any of her other series.

“Of the thousands of people, celebrated and unknown, who have sat before my camera, I am often asked who was the most difficult subject, or the easiest, or which picture is my favorite. This last question is like asking a mother which child she likes the most.” — Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman © self-portrait via Online Browsing

Philippe Halsman (May 2, 1906 — June, 25 1979) was an American portrait photographer who began his photographic career in Paris, France. In the mid 1930s, he owned a photography studio where he took portraits of famous artists and writers through the use of his DIY twin lens reflex camera.

With the help of Albert Einstein, Halsman and his family were able to find their way to America. Over the next 3 decades, his sparkling career went boom as he covered and reported for every leading American magazine. He took stunning portraits of various artists, entertainers, scientists — most of which appeared on LIFE Magazine’s covers, more than a hundred times — a streak no other photographer could ever match!

Halman’s photographic style was graced by his unusually weird imagination and was also fueled by his uncanny technological prowess and wit. He had an eternal fascination with the human face, thus his unparalleled series of portrait photography. He had a collaboration with Salvador Dali for almost 40 years, which rendered one of the most influential photographs in history, the Dali Atomicus.

In the late 1950s, Halsman was named as one of the World’s 10 Greatest Photographers. Below are galleries of his best portraits, including that of Albert Einstein, Alfred Hitchcock, Andy Warhol, Audrey Hepburn, Jean Cocteau, Marilyn Monroe, and of course, Salvador Dali.

Information and images on this article were derived from Magnum PhotosOnline BrowsingPhoto Slaves, and Wikipedia.

Which of these admirable Philippe Halsman portraits strike your liking the most? What other portait photographers would you like to be written about? Let us know through a comment below!

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