Moustache de Dali, 1954
Gelatin silver print
"The idea was that the head of the photographer is more important than his camera."
For the master American portraitist, Philippe Halsman (1906–1979), light was a sparkling means of revealing a sitter’s personality. Born in Latvia, he began his artistic career in Paris in the 1930’s. Halsman had a fascination for the faces of Paris’s avant-garde cultural figures. Bringing his subjects to life, with humor, energy and a touch of surrealism, he achieved great success in fashion photography and worked for Life magazine in the 1940’s. Some of his iconic images depict Marilyn Monroe, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Miro, Einstein, Winston Churchill and Le Corbusier. In the early 1950s, he began to ask his subjects to jump for his camera at the conclusion of each sitting.
In 1941, Halsman started a thirty-seven year collaboration with Salvador Dali. This resulted in a stream of unusual “photographs of ideas”, including the series “Dali’s Mustache”.