Halsman came to the US after spending twelve years in Paris as a fashion photographer. As an assignment and free-lance photographer his work is graced by celebrities and creatives ranging from Audrey Hepburn and Muhammad Ali to Le Corbusier and Louis Armstrong. Halsman also made several Surrealist photo experiments with Salvador Dalí, whose portrait Halsman took on many occasions. Dalí’s lithographic print Transcendent Passage is featured here in ‘Displaying Prestige.’
This Life Magazine cover from 1952 was Marilyn's first shoot for the magazine. She and Halsman would enjoy several other sessions up through 1959 when Halsman photographed Marilyn for his famous "Jump Series". Our point-of-view in this shot is from a lower position, looking up at Marilyn and inferring a sense of veneration. This, in addition to the centered, reduced frontal design, and classically draping dress, helps solidify transform her into a veritable icon.
Marilyn at the Drive-In brings the goddess off of the pedestal a bit with its higher point-of-view. With her perfect makeup contrasting the banality of the All-American burger, this cinematic shot light-heartedly shares an every-day moment with pop stardom.
Seen in context with Gordon Parks' works from 'Invisible Man" and 'Black Muslims", both here at JELMA, Halmans' work shows a disparate facet of the real-world 1950s America.
Gelatin Silver Prints, 1952
From a portfolio of 10 photos - portfolio # 231 of 250
Image 7 9/16 x 9 5/8"
Original Mount 13 5/16 x 10 9/16 in
Philippe Halsman (American, born Latvia 1906-1979)
Marilyn at the Drive-In
Marilyn, Life Cover