Almost every photojournalist shooting a sports match catches a JUMP: a moment when the player is caught up in the air. Thanks to fast shutters and digital cameras, capturing these moments are easier to come by than they once were. Think about a dance that is just a jump – a simple moment when students are caught in an unlikely frame, in which gravity is being challenged – for just a moment.
Tips for photographing a jump: 1) Good bright light. If outdoors, avoid dappled light and shadows. 2) Put your camera on a tripod or stable surface. 3) If possible, set your shutter to take multiple shots for each jump to guarantee you get one that is perfect.
Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) obsessively recorded and studied how animals and people move resulting in a portfolio of work, Animal Locomotion in 1887. This sequence was proof of “unsupported transit” and a precursor to film.
Henri Cartier – Bresson (1908-2001) is another photographer intent upon capturing the decisive moment. Once you miss that moment it is gone forever. Puddle jumping here using old school image capture. Title: Derriere la Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris 1932.
Phillippe Halsman (1906-1979) photographed many persons jumping. He claimed that the act of jumping revealed character that was otherwise hidden. “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 Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Professor J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Richard Nixon, are just a few of his many subjects documented in the book: Jumpology.
Do you recognize the men below? Jackie Gleason,Dick Clark and Benny Goodman
Halsman collaborated with surrealist painter, Salvador Dali over 3 decades to create a series of iconic playful tableaus in which furniture, cats, and water all appear to be suspended in air.
Contemporary artist Denis Darzacq stages and manipulates his digital files to create unlikely but convincing up in the air moments. Go to his website for a larger delightful archive of images like this one below then set the stage for your own moment of suspended animation.