In New York in 1948, photographer Philippe Halsman had a chance meeting with Fernandel, a French movie star from the vaudeville tradition, and asked the actor to participate in a completely original photographic experiment. Halsman would ask Fernandel questions about America to which he would respond using only facial expressions.
This book brings together the facial responses that Fernandel conjured up to such questions as "Does the average Frenchman still pinch pretty girls in a crowd?" (silly grin) and "What was your reaction to the great American game of baseball?" (perplexed). The result is a laugh-out-loud, wonderfully original book and a testimony to all that can be communicated by a turn of the lip or twinkle in the eyes.
The photographer:Philippe Halsman (1906-1979) was born in Latvia but established his career in Paris, where he became known as one of the most promising photographers of his generation. In 1940, he emigrated to the United States, where his career promptly soared as he began working for LIFE magazine, shooting a record 101 LIFE covers. His original style of portraiture brought a candid feeling to even the most elaborately posed pho-tographs. For his famous "jump" series, he photographed his subjects-including President Nixon and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor-as they jumped in the air. Halsman's contributions to the art of portraiture are innumerable, and his photographs will forever remain the defining images of mid-century American popular culture.