G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Defying Gravitas; Jumping for the Sheer Joy of Cricket

I have an old Life magazine issue that has few pictures of celebrities jumping at the command of American portrait photographer Philippe Halsman.

Halsman used to say, "When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears." The photographer developed a philosophy of jump photography, which he called jumpology.He published Philippe Halsman's Jump Book in 1959 (see picture below), which contained a tongue-in-cheek discussion of jumpology and 178 photographs of celebrity jumpers.”

Halsman, who had 101 Life covers to his credit when he died in 1979, felt a portrait that did not show psychological insight was "an empty likeness" of its subject. Richard Nixon, Aldous Huxley, Marilyn Monroe, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor are among the celebrities he launches into orbit.

Smithsonian magazine, October 2006:

“The freezing of motion has a long and fascinating history in photography, whether of sports, fashion or war. But rarely has stop-action been used in the unlikely, whimsical and often mischievous ways that Philippe Halsman employed it…

… Portraiture is one of the greatest challenges in photography, because the human face is elusive and often mask-like, with practiced expressions for the standard range of emotions. Some photographers accept these preset expressions—think of annual-report portraits of corporate officers—and others try to eliminate expression altogether, to get a picture as neutral as a wanted poster. Halsman was determined to show his sitters with their masks off but their true selves in place…”

I wonder what Halsman would have made of R P Singh who seems to jump with such unalloyed joy and no touch of malice.


Philippe Halsman "Jump Book" (notice Brigitte Bardot in second row extreme right)



RP Singh after getting through Adam Gilchrist, Australia vs India, 3rd Test, Perth, 2nd day, January 17, 2008