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Philippe Halsmann: Inspirational Portraiture

I wanted to share some of the work of Magnum photographer Philippe Halsman with you.

He was simply a genius when it came to making portraits.

He conveyed the spirit of the subject, and avoided that static posed look that is so often seen in a portrait photograph.

The best way to demonstrate what I mean is to look at a few examples.

DALI by Philippe Halsman, inspiration in portraiture
“Dali Atomicus” —The artist Salvador Dali, photographed by Philippe Halsman 1948
Louis Armstrong by Philippe Halsman, inspirational portraiture
Louis Armstrong, photographed by Philippe Halsman, 1966


Woody Allen, photographed by Philippe Halsman, 1969
Woody Allen, photographed by Philippe Halsman, 1969

Advice on Portraiture from Philippe Halsman:

the crucial problem of portraiture… If the likeness of a human being consists of an infinite number of different images, which one of these images should we try to capture?

“For me, the answer has always been, the image which reveals most completely both the exterior and the interior of the subject. Such a picture is called a portrait. A true portrait should, today and a hundred years from today, be the testimony of how this person looked and what kind of human being he was.”