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Philippe Halsman Quote #1

Phillippe Halsman - Salvador Dali

Philippe Halsman image of Salvador Dali in his studio.

“The immortal photographers will be straightforward photographers, those who do not rely on tricks or special techniques.”

Philippe Halsman, American portrait photographer. May 2, 1906 – June 25, 1979

Look closely at the unretouched image of Salvador Dali in his studio. Notice the thin lines from the ceiling to the items suspended from them. Imagine the time it took to set this tableau up. Today, Photoshop junkies blend many photographs together to create such scenes.

When I read Halsman’s quote, I am reminded of how far the pendulum has moved away from straightforward photos. In the age of Instagram’s one click manipulations, fantasy photos are easy to create. It seems the appetite for un-reality is bigger than it is for pepperoni pizza.

Philippe Halsman photo from 1953.

Philippe Halsman photo in Florida from 1953.

Personally, I got bored with Instagram after two weeks and closed my account. The “click and aahh” as I call it, was unsatisfying. Are my photos more interesting than before the filter, vignette, and frame are added? Only if I take a bad photo and want to make it passable. A good photo only becomes muddled, and loses its meaning.

Maybe someday the pendulum will balance itself again. Until then, what I find “aahh” worthy is becoming more rare.

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Philippe Halsman Quote #1

Jean Seberg with Cat by Philippe Halsman

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 like the most.

Philippe Halsman, 1906 – 1979

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