Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Photographic Leap Day


In celebration of Leap Day—the best of all temporally related quadrennial celebrations—I thought it would be fun to take a photographic look at the “art of the leap.”

But first, let’s take a moment to define what is, and what is, not a leap. For instance….

NOT a leap: George ZimbelMarilyn Monroe, Looking Left


A sixteenth-hearted effort if I’ve ever seen one.  Let someone else have the spotlight for once, Marilyn!


ALMOST a leap: Henry HorensteinMiss Saturn, Outside Slipper Room, New York, NY 2008

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Nice fake-out, Miss Saturn, but no matter how celestial your pose (and name) may be… your stance remains a tad too Earthbound for my taste


Leap: Ruth Orkin - Boy Jumping Into Hudson River, 1948


Now THAT’S how it’s done!


Culturally, the French appear to be quite adept in their leaptitude, which is unmistakable in this duo of jump-themed pieces.


Yves Klein –Le Saut dans le vide, 1960


Henri_Cartier-Bresson_Behind_Saint-Lazare_Train_Station_1932  Henri Cartier-BressonBehind the Gare Saint-Lazare, 1932



Jacques-Henri Latrigue – Bichonnade Leaping


Fear not, patriots, for while the French Leap does appear prominently in the photographic realm, we all know the Freedom Leap is equally entertaining.


Loomis Dean – Man Flying Off a Trampoline at Santa Monica Beach



Susan BurnstineJump


Dance is rife with leap photo-ops, and American modern dance queen, Martha Graham, shows up prominently in photography of the mid-20th century. Let’s combine the two, shall we?


Barbara Morgan – Graham Group, American Document; Sophie Maslow, Frieda Flier and Marforie Mazia (Starburst) 1938



Phillipe Halsman – Merce Cunningham, leaping and Martha Graham, sitting


Apparently umbrellas play an integral part in the “leap shot,” as is evident in the following rainy day photos.


Richard Avedon – Homage to Munkasci, 1957



Elliott Erwitt – Paris, 1989 (Tour Eiffel)


Like to see some of these works in person?  Never purchased a work of fine art photography? Take the LEAP (see what I did there?!) and stop on in the John Cleary Gallery.  Happy Leap Day everyone… and don’t forget those umbrellas!

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