Go ahead, jump!

Andrew Miller posted a link to a great post on a truly fabulous idea. Philippe Halsman was a famous photographer in the 1950’s who, on a routine assignment, had a silly idea. At the end of a long day photographing the Ford family (Model T, as opposed to Gerald or Richard) he asked the aging matriarch he was snapping to jump in the air for him.

“I have never seen an expression of greater astonishment,” he recalled. “The astonished Mrs. Ford replied, “You want me to jump with my high heels?” She asked her children to excuse her and went with Halsman to the hall where she, indeed, jumped—having taken off those heels.”

 Halsman realised he’d found a way to take a better, more unguarded picture. Over 100 of them are in a book, the famous and the not-so-famous. Just off to Amazon now…

“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.”

He realised that people jump in different ways. CEO’s all jumped one way – straight legs, outstretched, bent arms. Reporters all jumped another way – arms at their sides.

So what does this mean for us?

“Jump! Jump alone. Jump with friends. Jump with your whole damn management team. And ask someone (a friend, a stranger on the street) to take a photo so you can examine your portrait in mid-air. In what ways does it illustrate You, that real You without the social mask, that You not bound by gravity, the “You” of the group?”

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