Jumpology? (No, it is not an apology given while jumping!)
Philippe Halsman, one of the most innovative photographers of the 20th century, having shot Albert Einstein’s portrait on the cover of TIME came up with the concept. “When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears.”
Having observed many famous comedians and artists during photo shoots, he knew that capturing someone’s spirit goes beyond posing for the camera. The actual idea came to him when Ford Motor Company commissioned him to make an official family portrait, where against all conventionality, he asked the family matriarch, Edsel Ford, to take a photo of her jumping in high heels. The “jump” pictures had surprising charm, and over the next several years, Halsman asked many clients to jump for him, (including Marilyn Monroe and a remarkably likable Richard Nixon, who jumped for Halsman in the White House.)
Each one of us will read different things in this story: Do all people wear masks and need to jump so that their “true” self can show up? What about those who refuse to jump? What about those who are so different when they jump, we hardly recognize them? And what about all these inner corners and nooks that even we don’t know exist, when we jump like children on the playground?
Inner kids – we all have them alive and kicking inside of us – and one way or another – occasionally playing, singing in the rain or the shower, arguing on facebook or being intelligently and sympathetically naughty and (naturally) jumping up and down is a great thing.
Clever Halsman found a great way to turn mainstream portrait photography into “smart” art, giving it a twist and an angle. Innovation, creativity and genius are often recognized as such in serendipity – so jump – you never know what will come out of it.