Monday, May 24, 2010

Flying Cats


Today we feature what is probably the most famous cat picture ever taken. The picture is called "Atomicus", and features the famous artist Salvador Dali, and three flying cats. The picture was taken in 1948. The picture was made by suspending the furniture in the air by wires, and then Dali jumps at the same time a bucket of water and three cats are thrown at him. It took them many hours to get the perfect shot, so the cats were thrown many times. I think this type of thing would be frowned on today.

11 comments:

  1. Yes, I'm pretty sure the ASCPA would have some serious talks with Mr. Dali about that photo shoot.
    R

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  2. So, how did we leave it yesterday?
    Peacock roasted in the oven or a BAR-B-Q on a spit or in a pit.?
    R

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  3. Apparently, Dali wasn't the only one to suffer for his art.

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  4. Here's how they did it: Salvador Dali Atomicus Photo by Philippe Halsman

    There was nothing ordinary about Salvador Dali . . . nothing ordinary about his life and nothing ordinary about his art. So, it is not surprising that a photographic portrait of Salvador Dali should reflect the eccentric nature of his life and work. Perhap s most famous of the variety of unusual photographs made of Salvador Dali is the most unusual "Dali Atomicus" by Philippe Halsman.

    How the Photograph was Made:

    The photograph was made in the New York Studio of Philippe Halsman in 1948. The photograph was taken with Halsman's 4 x 5 format twin lens reflex camera. In order to make the photograph, the easel, two Dali paintings, and the step stool were suspended from the ceiling by strings. So these items were easy, since they were really held in the air by string. Halsman's wife held the chair in the air. Note that one leg of the chair is not in the picture. His wife is holding the leg of the chair that is out of the picture. So, all of these items while appearing to be part of the massive confusion and motion of the picture, are actually fixed in place.
    The parts that are moving, and that required the precise timing are the cats, water and Dali himself. Yes, the cats are in fact flying through the air as they appear to be in the picture. The timing sequence was pretty simple. Halsman began to count, and on three his assistants threw the cats, and the water, and then on four Dali jumped in the air, and then Halsman would take the picture. Of course to get the perfect picture took not only careful timing but good luck as well. After taking a picture, Halsman would immediately go to the dark room and develop it. He would then come back and try again. It took a number of tries to get the perfect timing and perfect picture. Halsman wrote that it took six hours and twenty-eight throws to get the picture that we now know as Dali's atomicus. Halsman indicated that the cats were not harmed in the making of the photograph.

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  5. Maybe the cats weren't harmed, but they might have needed some serious therapy after all that! ;-)

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  6. cat week?! great! love the idea and am surely looking forward to the photos!

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  7. What a great photo!! The poor cats, they probably didn't know what was happening! Thanks for the picture.

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  8. I would have thought he'd have needed more than one set of cats. Can't imagine any of my crew hanging around waiting to get the old heave-ho more than once.

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  9. AWESOME photograph! What's amazing is it only took 28 attempts to capture this image. :)

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  10. That's from Halsman's 'Jump' series of photographs. More pics from the series here:

    http://tinyurl.com/26fbwbr

    And an article about the series:

    The Joys of Jumpology

    http://tinyurl.com/246gvdx

    Best,

    Joshua

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  11. Many more photographs in the 'Jump' series can be found here:

    http://tinyurl.com/knvpz4

    Best,

    Joshua

    ReplyDelete