When you think of some of the most iconic images of the greatest personalities of the twentieth century, ones of powerful politicians, charming actors and actresses, artists, and so on, you'd be surprised that they were taken by a select few photographers. One of those select few was Philippe Halsman, a Latvian-born photographer who was considered to be one of the best portraitists in the entire world. And as you'll learn, he's the author of many well-known portraits, some of which the celebrities are remembered by, like his portrait of John. F. Kennedy, Salvador Dali, Alfred Hitchcock, Audrey Hepburn, and many, many more. Let's not waste our breath any more and let's jump to the pictures, which might leave you breathless.

All photos © Philippe Halsman Archive.

More info: philippehalsman.com | Instagram | Facebook | Discord

#1

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

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Peter Weir
Community Member
1 month ago

natural beauty..not the fake kardashins BS today

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Oliver Halsman Rosenberg, the curator of the archive, has given an exclusive interview to Bored Panda. "I come from a lineage of artists, Philippe was my grandfather, and my grandmother Yvonne was his assistant and an excellent photographer in her own right. My mom is an artist and art teacher, so it's in the DNA and I am continuing the tradition of playful, mysterious, and innovative art. Unfortunately my grandfather died while I was a child, so I never really got to know him, but I have all of his images, letters, and audio tapes, so I feel like I have a good sense of who he was."

#2

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

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Tedus
Community Member
1 month ago

i like that one. Doesn't go with the "dumb blonde" description - same as the excellent quotes you can find from her.

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#3

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn

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Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago

a true legend !! one of only 12 people in the world who have won 4 major awards (an Emmy / a Grammy / an Oscar / and a Tony). plus it's been proven during WW2 she was an agent of the Dutch Resistance and volunteered as a nurse in a dutch hospital when she was only 16

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"Philippe went to school for electrical engineering (which was the profession of the future in the 1920s), and even though he was at the top of his class he dropped out before graduation and decided to become a photographer in Paris in the 1930s (which at the time was perceived as a bad career choice). He started experimenting with lights and by photographing homeless people, young actors, models, and hairdressers. He invented his own camera, eventually started to photograph his favorite authors, and became known as one of the best portraitists in Paris at the time. The Nazis invaded and he was on the run for many months, and through the miraculous intervention of Albert Einstein, he was given an emergency visa for artists and writers. He came to America with nothing and had to start his whole career over again. He started working for the Black Star Photo Agency and eventually had a few lucky breaks. One photo of his was selected for an Elizabeth Arden lipstick campaign, which went on to win an important award and open many doors for Halsman. In 1942 he got the first of his 101 LIFE covers. It was through LIFE and other magazines that his work was seen by millions of people every month."

#4

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

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Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

This made me chuckle. :D

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#5

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

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Caro Caro
Community Member
1 month ago

WOW, this one is great.

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He also told about Philippe's peculiar relation with Dali, as they worked for more than 37 years together. "He met Dali in 1941 in NYC when Dali was premiering some costume designs for the Ballet Russe. Halsman's photo was selected as LIFE magazine's picture of the week. Dali and Halsman were very opposite in their personality, but found they had a good collaborative synergy and continued to create and play and invent together for the next 37 years."

#6

Barbara Streisand

Barbara Streisand

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DaVo
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow! Amazing profile and an amazing shot!

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#7

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

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Kathleen Tasca
Community Member
1 month ago

Perhaps knowledge can be a burden, sad eyes

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Oliver also told how the idea for the archive came about and the legacy that Philippe has left.

"When my grandmother died, I needed to organize all of the prints and files, so I put my own art career on hold and became an accidental archivist. I juggle my own creative projects now and help organize Halsman exhibitions and publications.

It's hard to say how many photos he left behind. He took 1000s but some have never been printed. I love looking through old contact sheets and finding outtakes that have never been seen before. My book Unknown Halsman was my way of taking some of these hidden gems and giving them a new life."

#8

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

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Madre_Dr4gnZFly
Community Member
1 month ago

She had the most amazing eyes!

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#9

Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr.

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Chewie Baron
Community Member
1 month ago

Sinatra treated him like s**t.

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As for the favorite photos or series, Oliver admitted that "it's hard to pick a favorite series, but I like his experimental work where he was pushing the limits of what a photograph could be. Now we have Photoshop, but in his time he had to invent techniques to achieve an idea that was only in his mind."

Oliver has also told about some developments in Latvia, Halsman's home country. "Halsman was born in Riga, Latvia in 1906, and we are in discussion now with some people who want to open a Halsman museum in the house he grew up in."

#10

Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey Bogart

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JD
Community Member
1 month ago

The lighting on this is wonderful

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#11

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

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YoyoSthlm
Community Member
1 month ago

Pointy

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Oliver hopes that people won't forget his grandfather's works soon. "I hope people are still interested in his work. I remember when I was creating a digital database of his work I would come across actors and actresses I had never heard of, and when I Google/YouTube searched them it turned out they were very famous at the time and totally talented. Now celebrity culture is so viral and instant that it's cool to go back and understand our roots and discover new people to be inspired by."

#12

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

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Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago

that picture is great but Hitchcock was an awful man !! yes he is a genius but a very problematic human being

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#13

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

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Judith Agogliati
Community Member
1 month ago

A true princess.

#14

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate

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Amanita Virosa
Community Member
1 month ago

Poor thing, God rest her.

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#15

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

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Caro Caro
Community Member
1 month ago

That man must be one of the most gorgeous men ever. Holy Smokes.

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#16

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

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Mark Berry
Community Member
1 month ago

All of these memorable images, and I've never seen this one before. Greatness!

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#17

Angela Davis

Angela Davis

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Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago

totally iconic !!

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#18

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago

the greatest

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#19

Sharon Tate

Sharon Tate

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timothy green
Community Member
1 month ago

What a shame

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#20

Eva Gabor

Eva Gabor

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Liam Farranree
Community Member
1 month ago

You can tell that dog has witnessed some wild Hollywood parties.

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#21

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

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Angie
Community Member
1 month ago

He loved Sealyham Terriers!

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#22

Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall

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Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago

i LOOOOVE him !!! his painting for the ceiling of the opera house in Paris is a wonder !! Picasso said about him : “when Matisse dies, Marc Chagall will be the only artist who understands what color really is”. 14476455-6...eb35bf.jpg 14476455-6165a1eeb35bf.jpg

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#23

Dean Martin And Jerry Lewis

Dean Martin And Jerry Lewis

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BleeBloo
Community Member
1 month ago

it's hard to describe how popular these two were, people used to line up for blocks to watch them perform

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#24

Eva-Marie Saint

Eva-Marie Saint

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Kathleen Tasca
Community Member
1 month ago

Perfect photo. Still "On the waterfront"

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#25

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck

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Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago

certainly one of the most humble man ever !! his dog, Toby, ate his manuscript of Of Mice and Men. there was no other draft !! Steinbeck said of the incident, “I was pretty mad but the poor little fellow may have been acting critically. I didn’t want to ruin a good dog for a manuscript, I’m not sure is good at all.” and when he was asked if he thought he deserved the Nobel Prize for litterature he just answered "frankly, no !!"

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#26

Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer

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Nadine Bamberger
Community Member
1 month ago

Legend, you know his name even when you can't play chess.

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#27

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

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Abhinc
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

another pure pure genius yet despicable man !! he never publicly denounced fascism during WW2 and later even supported openly Franco's regime. they even officially 3 times and he stated that after Franco's death there should be no return to democracy adding "Personally, I'm against freedom; I'm for the Holy Inquisition."

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#28

Lizabeth Scott

Lizabeth Scott

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Raina Abigail Senryuji
Community Member
1 month ago

WOW.. 😲😍❤️

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#29

Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley

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DaVo
Community Member
1 month ago

What a visionary!

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#30

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

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Salam Payne
Community Member
1 month ago

The most loved American president after Lincoln

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Note: this post originally had 40 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.