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Halsman, Philippe

Philippe Halsman (1906 – 1979) was an American portrait photographer. He was born in Riga to a Jewish couple and died in New York City. Halsman studied electrical engineering in Dresden. In September 1928, 22-year-old Halsman was accused of his father's murder but was pardoned and released in 1930. Halsman consequently left for France, and began contributing to fashion magazines such as Vogue. He 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 managed to obtain a U.S. visa, aided by family friend Albert Einstein. He had his first success in America when the cosmetics firm Elizabeth Arden used his image of model Constance Ford against the American flag in a campaign for "Victory Red" lipstick. A year later, in 1942, he found work with Life magazine, photographing hat designs and in 1941 Halsman met the surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and collaborate with him from late 1940s.

In 1951 Halsman was commissioned by NBC to photograph various popular comedians of the time. Other celebrities photographed by Halsman include Alfred Hitchcock, Martin and Lewis, Judy Garland, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Dandridge, and Pablo Picasso. In such photos, he utilizes a variety of his “seven rules of photography”. For example, in one of his photos of Winston Churchill, the omission of his face makes Halsman's photo even more powerful at making Churchill more human.

Birth year
1906