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Friday, July 22, 2011

Who is this man? And why is he jumping?

Learned hand jumping 


It is an unlikely image of Learned Hand -- at age 87 -- taken by celebrated photographer Philippe Halsman (1906-79).  It appears in a collection published in 1959, The Jump Book.  I saw it in the latest issue of Wilson Quarterly (Summer 2011), one of my favorite periodicals. The picture was not available online at WQ so I clipped it from Designmodo.com which elaborates as follows:

 Being a successful photographer for LIFE magazine, Halsman had taken pictures of some of the most famous people at that time: politicians, writers, artists, judges, Nobel Prize winners, movie stars. But the idea of “jumpology” came to his mind after working with some comedians in the early 50’ies. When Halsman compared the pictures of all those comedians to the other people, he noticed that they often jumped while they were photographed, so Philippe decided to try this on other people as well.

“May I take a picture of you jumping?’” ended up to be one of the most successful questions in the history of photography as intense as it might sound. The question first came up at the photo shooting of the Ford company at their 50th anniversary. Philippe liked the results and soon some of the most famous people were photographed while jumping including Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Salvador Dali, Judge Learned Hand, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and many other celebrities that are all included in Halsman’s book called “Jump”. However this book doesn’t only showcase pictures of these people but explains the concept of jumpology as there is a whole story behind it.

Source: http://designmodo.com/the-art-of-jumpology/#ixzz1SfQiuL3x



Posted by Thomas Baker on July 22, 2011 at 07:00 AM | Permalink


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I hope I have that much of a vertical jump when I am 87.

Eric, I have always considered teaching a performance. Do your comic skills translate to your teaching?

Posted by: Thomas E. Baker | Jul 22, 2011 4:48:42 PM

Great post! How fascinating that comedians tend to jump when they get their picture taken. In high school, when the town newspaper took a picture of me and other students involved in a community do-gooder club, you know what I did? I jumped! And then I went on in life to do stand-up comedy. It's totally embarrassing looking back on it. Not only was jumping for the newspaper photographer kind of a dumb thing for me to do as a teenager, but now I come to learn it was hack of me as a comic!!!! But, of course, if Learned Hand did it, I feel much better. Hack is bad in comedy, but precedent is, of course, good in the law.

Posted by: Eric E. Johnson | Jul 22, 2011 4:24:06 PM

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