Go Ahead and Jump: Philippe Halsman’s Iconic Photos

Although most photographers ask their subjects to sit, the famous 20th-century portraitist Philippe Halsman commanded his sitters to jump. After shooting commissioned portraits for the top magazines of his day — Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post — Halsman would take a picture for his personal portfolio, which he published as Philippe Halsman’s Jump Book in 1959.

His whimsical Jumpology series features artists, celebrities, politicians, businessmen, and royals taking the leap of faith. Grace Kelly, who was soon to become a princess, holds her skirt from hiking too far up her legs, while grinning; Dick Clark lets loose in his suit and shiny loafers; Audrey Hepburn jumps barefoot over grass, while Psycho film star Janet Leigh takes sail in the California dunes; and Salvador Dalí paints a canvas in mid-air as cats and water fly past.

Vintage photographs from the series are currently on view in the exhibition Philippe Halsman: Jump at New York’s Laurence Miller Gallery through May 28. Click through below for a selection of photos from the show.

Philippe Halsman, Grace Kelly, 1959, 14 x 11" vintage silver print, Courtesy Laurence Miller Gallery