Philippe Halsman (Latvian, 1906-1979)

As a photographer of celebrities, Halsman captured some of the best-known artists, actors, scientists, and writers of all time. He arrived to the US in 1940 and found success by propelling actors and actresses to fame with his unique backdrops and props. A photoshoot with aspiring model Connie Ford challenged Halsman to create the perfect “American Profile,” in which he directed Ford to pose laying down on an American flag he constructed out of paper. Possibly his most recognized period was his involvement with the Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí, where he captured Dali’s ideas of the absurd by snapping with the artist in midair and highlighting his over-the-top mustache. Throughout his career, he worked on 101 LIFE Magazine covers.

Halsman was born in Riga, Latvia and opened a portrait studio in Montparnasse, Paris in 1934. His photographs appeared in his first major exhibit at the Galerie de la Pléiade, Paris and, shortly after, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1936. His work has been exhibited extensively and included in permanent collections like the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Library of Congress, Washington DC; and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.