The photograph that changed modern portraiture

Toronto. Philippe Halsman and Salvatore Dali were friends. One was a famous portrait photographer; the other a modern artist famous for his many weird and surreal paintings. In fact as a youth I bought a book on Dali and his surrealist paintings – those with melting clocks, long limbed people and crutches.

After the war (in 1949) Dali created a painting based on the mythological Leda and the Swan, but with everything floating. He called it Leda Atomica. Halsman, worked to create a similar  portrait of Dali called Dali Atomica (see at left). Years later his daughter who helped make the portrait as a child narrated a short video here on how it was accomplished.

My thanks to George Dunbar who found the August 9, 1948 LIFE  magazine article on Halsman’s portrait of his friend Salvatore Dali, Dali Atomica. 

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