Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Art of Arrangement

Leaflet from show - Art of Arrangement

On Monday we went to Bath to The Holburne Museum, to see 'Art of Arrangement- Photography and the Still Life Tradition'. Unfortunately we weren't able to use our DSLRs to take photographs, we were only allowed to use phone cameras. I don't have a camera on my phone, it's a phone, so I've scanned in the leaflet and the postcard I brought of Frederick G. Tutton's 'Dessert, 1923'.

Frederick G. Tutton - Dessert, 1923
When we got there we were shown a huge still life painting to consider before we started to look at the photography. It all started as black and white still life images, of things such as fruit, fish, skulls and flowers. It then went on to more modern and colour photographs. One that particularly stood out to me, is 'Dali Atomicus' a 1948 photograph by Philippe Halsman.

Philippe Halsman - Dali Atomicus, 1948

“On the count of three, his assistants threw three cats and a bucket of water into the air; and on the count of four, Dali jumped and Halsman snapped the picture” (Luhring, 2008)

This happened twenty eight times; after each photo had been taken Halsman would go into the dark room and develop the 5x4 negative to see if he had achieved the desired effect.  They counted each other in as a method of keeping things in time, each time. Dali jumps and the photo is taken just after the water and cats are thrown in. so that the water had time to make its way across the frame, and the cats would have had a chance to move slightly so they look a bit more natural and not like they had just been tossed in the air. In the instant the photo is taken I think you get a clear, honest shot of the subjects character.


BRANDON LUHRING cited by ARCHIE TECHNE. (2008) “Dali Atomicus” by Philippe Halsman. Available: 

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