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Significant photographers of the 20th century

 Philippe Halsman was born in Riga on the 2nd of May 1906. He died in New York on the 25th of June 1979.

He was one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century in the 40s to the 70s. He achieved world renown with his formal and psychological portraits of various politicians, intellectuals and cultural personalities from all over the world. His portraits in American magazines, to a great degree, created the impression of American society as one of prosperity, optimism and self-confidence.

In Riga, Philippe was born into a Jewish family of Mordecai Max Halsman, a dentist, and Ita Grintuches, a teacher. Around 1921 he starts to photograph his friends and members of his family. In 1924 he finishes high school and commences studies in engineering at the University of Dresden.

In 1930 he moves to live in Paris where his portraits are printed in the Vogue, Vu and Voila magazines. His fame grows with his portraits of Andre Malraux, Paul Valery, Jean Painleve, Marc Chagall, Andre Gide, Jean Giraudoux and Le Corbusier.

In 1940 he immigrates to the USA and lives in New York. In 1941 he meets Salvador Dali and so begins a 30-year creative collaboration. In 1942 he also begins work as a fashion and magazine photographer. In 1945 he is elected as the first President of the American Society of Photographers. From 1946 to 1949 he photographs the famous dancer Martha Graham and her company, and creates portraits of Albert Einstein, Salvador Dali, and the French comic Fernandel.

In 1951 he visits Europe and photographs Marc Chagall, Brigitte Bardot, Henri Matisse, Anna Magnani and Winston Churchill. He becomes a founder and member of the Association of Professional Photographers “Magnum”. Between 1951 and 1959 he creates the series “Jump” which is a collection of over 200 famous personalities performing a jump. In 1961 he photographs J. F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Robert S. McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, Arthur E. Schlesinger Jr..

In 1963 the Smithsonian Institute presents a comprehensive retrospective of Philippe Halsman’s work, and in 1969 he becomes Richard M. Nixon’s official photographer. In 1970, the album “One-hundred the Life cover” is published. In 1975 he receives the American Magazine Photographers’ association’s lifetime achievement award for the development of photography. In 1979 the founder of the International Centre of Photography, Cornell Capa, creates a huge exhibition of Philippe Halsman's work which tours the USA for eight years.

Halsman's photographs can be found in many museums and galleries throughout the world.
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