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Philippe Halsman's Jump Book Paperback – October 5, 1986

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Editorial Reviews Review

Halsman, who had 101 Life covers to his credit when he died in 1979, felt a portrait that did not show psychological insight was "an empty likeness" of its subject. Rolleiflex in hand and tongue in cheek, he invented his own Rorschach test--"jumpology"--and talked his subjects into becoming airborne in the interest of science. Richard Nixon, Aldous Huxley, Marilyn Monroe, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor are among the celebrities he launches into orbit.

From Publishers Weekly

A portrait photographer for Life magazine in the 1950s, Halsman asked many of his subjects to jump for his camera. Here are shots of 191 celebrities in the air, ranging from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to John Steinbeck. This edition also includes previously unpublished shots, of Lucille Ball and Art Carney among others. A delightful exercise.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 5, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810923386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810923386
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lee Kanne on April 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Philippe Halsman's Jump Book is not just for people who love photography. Oh no - no matter who you are, what your age, sex or nationality is, you will love this book. It has everything, from actors to politicians to artists and even royalty - up in the air!
Each person has his own way of jumping. One hides her legs in her skirt, the other bends them and yet a third person will kick them as high as possible. I think each person's jump tells us a little bit about who he or she is, really. Each jump also has its own setting -some are indoors and some are outdoors, each person picking the place they want to be photographed at.
The book is divided into sections, which makes it easy to compare people's jumps with their peers'.
This is for the open-minded, as it is not your regular "straight" photography.If you're interested in more convetional pictures, I recommend Halsman's Portrait book, which is also beautiful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the perfect coffee table book (If you still have a coffee table). It has great pictures of famous people jumping.
I ran accross this book back in the late 80's can I gave it to a friend. She loved it and I have been looking for a copy ever since for myself. I finally found it at Amazon.
The picture of Nixon jumping is priceless. He looks happy! This is my second favorite picture Nixon (Nixon and Elvis is #1). These are unique pictures taken by a master photographer -- Priceless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Foster Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some of us developed our love of photography from looking at the pictures in LIFE magazine. We probably didn't realize it at the time but the great Philippe Halsman influenced us more than any other photographer as he had more LIFE covers than any other artist. Many of his photographs are part of the American unconscious-- the beautifully cropped portrait of John Kennedy, Marily Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor et al. Mr. Halsman, while on photo assignments, came up with the most clever idea of asking his subjects to jump for him. This beautiful book containing photographs of 191 jumps is the result.

This obviously persuasive photographer got statesmen, politicians, artists, actors, writers, scientists, theologians, comedians-- apparently just about everyone he asked-- to jump although some invitees said "no." They included Van Cliburn, Ed Murrow, Dag Hammarskjold, Herbert Hoover and most certainly Eleanor Roosevelt. (Tallulah Bankhead kept one foot on the ground.) I hadn't seen this book in several years. The two photographs I remembered with those of Salvador Dali and Marilyn Monroe. Other favorite shots are of Kitty Carlisle and Moss Hart, Shirley Temple, Joanne Woodward, Marcia Davenport, Adlai Stevenson, Grace Kelly and Judge Learned Hand as they jump.

Mr. Halsman wrote a very thought-provoking introduction to this collection in which he gives his theories about "jumpology." He certainly writes with a great deal of insight as well as humor. Dame Edith Sitwell "could. . . barely walk. . . I did not ask her to jump because it was obvious that the only thing Dame Edith could do well was to sit well." Some of his statements ring true. I'm not ready to jump on some of the others. Mr. Halsman opines that usually we, to quote T. S.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
What else can I say? It's lightweight material (but you knew that), but this book documents a bygone era in a unique and unforgettable way. There are many images in the book that alone are worth the purchase price. In particular I like the photo of all of the Eisenhower brothers caught in the midst of cracking up over a good joke.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 19, 2015
Format: Hardcover
NEW Facsimile edition of this out-of-print book will put a smile on your face

As I post this review I see there are already 17 reviews posted, which go back to 2000. The book has actually been out of print for many years and Amazon has combined reviews of earlier editions here. The book is being reprinted by the Italian publisher Damiani on October 25, 2015 as a “facsimile edition” with a few extra pages. (I received an advance copy in exchange for an objective review.)

Famous portrait photographer Philippe Halsman (1906-79) photographed 101 covers for Life Magazine plus many for Look and other mass market periodicals. In 1962 he started asking his subjects (the subjects to be photographed were chosen by the magazines, not Halsman) if they would “jump” for him. It was an odd request but many accepted the offer. The result is the 197 images in this 96 page hardbound book. A few are given full page treatment but most are shown with a few on a page. Two of the pages have as many as nine. There is a 22-page essay by Halsman explaining the theory behind “jumping” and which subjects refused. We are also given the “back story” on the photos.

The images – all black and white – are on matte (not glossy) paper and so some of the detail is lost. (This would make a great “coffee table” book with each image (or no more than two on a page) presented larger. (Note, that while some other reviews here call this a “coffee table book”. It is actually only 8.25x11 inches and weighs less than two pounds)

This is a fun book to look through and many of the photos will put a smile on your face. The photos are grouped by subject with Industrialists (Mrs. Edsel Ford was the first person to “jump” for Halsman), Corporate Executives, athletes, comedians, etc.
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