Friday, February 25, 2011

Jump Book

   The idea for a "jump book" came from photographer Philippe Halsman, who had 101 Life covers to his credit when he died in 1979. He "felt a portrait that did not show psychological insight was 'an empty likeness' of its subject." His fun work was introduced to me by my sister, Kelley, who requested jump photos of friends and family as a gift for her husband's birthday—which is today! Happy Birthday, Eric!!!
   A review of the book online states: "Much of Halsman’s work embodied the sunny, playful, and optimistic side of post-war life in America. Calling himself the discoverer of 'Jumpology,' he compelled hundreds of subjects to jump in the air for his camera—everyone from Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe to Robert Oppenheimer and Richard Nixon. He wrote in his 1959 Jump Book, 'The roots of my discovery reach into my early childhood. I was born with an intense interest in jumping…. I could run, jump and turn over in the air.' He delighted in jumping throughout his life and in photographing others in the act of jumping. “Everybody hides behind a mask,” Halsman writes. “In a jump the subject, in a sudden burst of energy, overcomes gravity. He cannot simultaneously control his expressions, his facial and his limb muscles. The mask falls. The real self becomes visible. One has only to snap it with the camera.'”
   There's another guy, David Leckness, who has been cataloging jumps for over 20 years and posts them online.
   I couldn't wait to work on this assignment, and I took inspiration from my surroundings. Aki and Taylor wanted to get in to the act too, of course! Tay jumped for his giant stuffed lobster in the living room. He looks like he's dancing a jig, with one foot raised up. (He looks like he has a heart on his chest, too!)
"Riverdance, Tay! Good boy!!!"
 "I could've had a V8!"
   Aki jumped for her squeaky soccer ball in the backyard at night. I played around with different camera settings and got some cool effects with slower shutter speeds. She looks like a Wereshiba in this one, with the glowing orange eyes.
"Wereshiba?"  "There. There, Shiba."
Now she's doing her T-Rex impression:
   This one is actually my favorite: love how you see the spray of snow, and you can tell how high she jumped and how athletic she is. She jumped so hard that her tail straightened out!:
   For my own, I relied on programming the camera and some lucky timing. (It took me a few tries!) As ridiculous as this looks, I couldn't resist the idea of taking advantage of the snow, since Kelley and Eric live in LA and weren't likely to get many snow jumps. So there I was, freezing my assets off, wearing nothing but a bikini and my cute boots in 10 degree weather.
   I know I should be totally embarrassed to post this, but I work out. And you only live once!   :)
   Reminds me of something my History of Illustration teacher, Mark Hazlerig, said in college: "You should all have portraits taken of yourselves working in your studio now, so that if they write about you when you're old, they'll have a good-looking photo of the young you." Note to self: still need to have that done...