Latvian American photographer Philippe Halsman is known for his photographs of celebrities. In the fifties he was commissioned by a television network to photograph actors which gave him an opportunity to create his jump series. Halsman was interested in capturing the candid side of the jumper who is more engaged in the act of jumping rather than their usual posed countenance we often see. The subjects in his photographs capture the jumper’s euphoric state in mid air which Halsman called jumpology. He published Philippe Halsman’s Jump Book in 1959, which contained a tongue-in-cheek discussion of jumpology and 178 photographs of celebrity jumpers.


“Starting in the early 1950s I asked every famous or important person I photographed to jump for me.  I was motivated by a genuine curiosity.  After all, life has taught us to control and disguise our facial expressions, but it has not taught us to control our jumps.  I wanted to see famous people reveal in a jump their ambition or their lack of it, their self-importance or their insecurity, and many other traits. When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears.”