Philippe Halsman, The Frenchman, 1949

cover front

cover front

 

The Frenchman A photographic interview by Philippe Halsman. Philippe Halsman is known today for his wonderful conceptional photo series and books such as Jump Book and Dali’s Mustache. During his lifetime, his work was largely known through magazines. This book, published in 1949, celebrates French actor Fernandel (Fernand Joseph Désiré Contandin 1903-1971), who I personally adore for his performances in the Don Camillo and Peppone movies. Halsman met Fernandel by chance in New York in 1948, and speedily arranged this spontaneous photo-shoot. In a very simple studio setting Halsman poses 24 questions and gets 24 expressions in return. Fernandel spoke no English at this time, so one can only assume that his expressions do indeed relate to the questions, and aren’t simply a series of gallic shrugs. Most images are close-ups portraits, but two images show Fernandel together with an uncredited female model. The sitting apparently only lasted one hour. Some of the photographs from this session were published by LIFE magazine. Shortly after, Dick Simon of Simon & Schuster publishers noticed the pictures in Halsman’s studio, which led to this, the first book publication by Philippe Halsman. A well designed and structured little book.

 Soft cover

App. 17.5 x 23.2cm

96 pages

inscription by Fernandel

inscription by Fernandel

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cover back

cover back