The Art of Jumpology
Photography is one of the many ways of art to preserve life’s beauty and its cherished moments. It was not long ago since I first heard about this special style of photography called “jumpology”, that was first brought to life by the Latvian photographer – Philippe Halsman(1906 – 1979). Since then, this style has inspired many photographers that dedicated their work to this special type of photography.
Being a successful photographer for LIFE magazine, Halsman had taken pictures of some of the most famous people at that time: politicians, writers, artists, judges, Nobel Prize winners, movie stars. But the idea of “jumpology” came to his mind after working with some comedians in the early 50’ies. When Halsman compared the pictures of all those comedians to the other people, he noticed that they often jumped while they were photographed, so Philippe decided to try this on other people as well.
“May I take a picture of you jumping?'” ended up to be one of the most successful questions in the history of photography as intense as it might sound. The question first came up at the photo shooting of the Ford company at their 50th anniversary. Philippe liked the results and soon some of the most famous people were photographed while jumping including Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Salvador Dali, Judge Learned Hand, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and many other celebrities that are all included in Halsman’s book called “Jump”. However this book doesn’t only showcase pictures of these people but explains the concept of jumpology as there is a whole story behind it.
Philippe followed the three rules of photography being viewed as an unusual art and producing unique pieces: “the rule of the unusual technique”, “the rule of the added unusual feature” and “the rule of the missing feature”. These actually inspired him to use his invented technique of photographing people in mid-air. He though portraiture was one of the greatest challenges of photography, because people have the so called “face-masks” that cover their real emotions with practiced expressions that are usually boring and life-less. Halsman was determined to change this and bring something new in portrait photography. “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” was what Phillipe once said in an interview. You can find more information about the concept of jumpology in Philippe Halsman’s “Jump” book where he goes on about it for 24 pages explaining it.
Check out some of the pictures of Philippe Halsman’s Jumpology:
“Jump book” by Philippe Halsman
Dr. Robert Openheimer
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor
British Labor Party Leader – Hugh Gaitskell
Judge Learned Hand
Philippe Halsman and Marylin Monroe
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
My all time favorite Jumpology photo is “Dali Atomicus” that pictures the Spanish artist Salvador Dali and some random floating objects – the creativity and composition of this photo is just amazing in my opinion:
Here are just some of thousands “jumpology” pictures that you can find on the web. I hope you enjoyed the post and got a generous dose of inspiration, like I did!