Atomic Dali is probably the most famous picture of the controversial Spanish painter, shot by Phillipe Halsman. This isn't an isolated action, but part of the outcome of a continuous collaboration between the artists, that started in the mid-1940s, when Surrealism was at its peak. This sort of work wasn't new or unusual, as it may seem at first glance among established artists; Man Ray and Dora Maar, for instance, did it often. In this particular case, achieving this photograph was not an easy task.
Halsman didn't use montages or any kind of tricks; only meticulous staging, a lot of preparation, enough patience and numerous failed tries. After each attempt they had to clean the spilt water from the floor, chase the cats and ease them; sometimes, accidents would happen and Dali would get literally soaked... At last, in the 28th session, the desired effect was achieved. Art doesn't just randomly happen.
There's also In Voluptas Mors, a gruesome artistic composition where a group of naked women over a black backdrop give shape to a skull, before Dali's usual hallucinated look. And Midsummer Night's Mare, a spacial dance of figures among bread, fruit and other edible elements.
Other, lesser-known images, fruit of this collaboration - and always with the famous Dali as a model - were as hard or even harder to capture, such as the one with the completely naked woman appearing in the middle of a bread and popcorn explosion, being furiously kicked by the painter. Dali and food, always.
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