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Episode 078 – Leap Into the Void

When my friend, Helen Stoilas, told me that she was starting a new podcast exploring bizarre stories from art history, I told her that she should find one that involved photography to bring on my show. And, let me tell you, she found one that is simply amazing. “Leap Into the Void” by Yves Klein from October of 1960. The story behind this artwork and the accompanying photographs is equal parts baffling, hilarious, and inspiring.

The feelings you get when you look at these photos. AHHH! Will he take off or smash to the ground?

Yes, the photos (by photographers Harry Shunk and Janos Kender) are technically not the artwork. The photographs just documents the artwork. You will have to listen to fully understand.

Stream the Episode

Listen to the episode through the player below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or click here for a wider selection of podcast platforms.

What did you think of the story behind “Leap Into the Void”? It kinda blows the mind doesn’t it?

If you want to see some of the works that were inspired by this piece that I mentioned in the episode, you can click here.

And if you’re wondering how they accomplished this photo…

leap into the void

In the days before Photoshop, they used two separate negatives: this one of Klein taking the leap with the tarp under him and a second establishing shot of the street, and they cut them together. Pretty ingenious, but also showing that photography fake outs have been around for a long time. Much like the ‘spirit photos’ from the 1800s I discussed in the Photographing Monsters episode.

But you know what? I’m not mad. The feeling I get from this work of art is the point, not whether it actually happened.

About My Guest

Helen Stoilas is an arts journalist and editor who loves to talk and write about culture—both high and low. She’s also a dedicated geek, lover of all things weird and whimsical and a proud cat lady. You can listen to her complain about Donnie Darko and explain her attraction to Steve Buscemi on the podcast You’re No Fun Anymore. And look out for her new audio show Bizart House: Strange Tales from Art History, coming soon.

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I hope you will be back to listen to more episodes of The Nerdy Photographer Podcast in the near future!

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The Nerdy Photographer
The Nerdy Photographer

With more than a quarter century as a professional photographer, The Nerdy Photographer's goal is to spread knowledge and laughter throughout the photo industry. Please follow along on social media and subscribe to the podcast.

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