Front / Recto

  • Title Photo of Myself at the Moment of My Jump from the series I Photograph Myself during a Parachute Jump (Ich fotografiere mich beim Absturz mit dem Fallschirm) (Selbstfoto im Moment des Abspringens)
  • Negative Date 1931
  • Print Date 1931
  • Medium Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions Image 5 9/16 × 8 1/16" (14.2 × 20.4 cm)
    Sheet 7 × 9 9/16" (17.8 × 24.3 cm)
  • Place Taken Berlin
  • Credit Line Thomas Walther Collection. Gift of Thomas Walther
  • MoMA Accession Number 1849.2001.8

Back / Verso

  • Mount Type No mount
  • Marks and Inscriptions

    Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, top left: 115. Label affixed to sheet verso, center, with text printed in black ink: Ich fotografiere mich beim Absturz mit dem Fallschirm./Der Fotograf springt mit dem Fallschirm ab./Selbstfoto im Moment des Abspringens [1]./Copyright by Fotoaktuell GmbH./Berlin SW. 68, Markgrafenstr. 87.

    [1] "I photograph myself during a parachute jump. The photographer jumps with a parachute. Photo of myself at the moment of my jump."

  • Provenance The artist, Berlin; to Vertrieb für Pressephotos (Christoph Netzle), Zurich, probably 1931 [1]; to Freudenberg GmbH (Hans Guggenbühl and Guido A. Pozzi), after 1930 and possibly in summer 1945 [2]; to Internationale Bilderagentur (Dr. Heinz Müller), Oberengstringen, Switzerland, 1945–47 [3]; to Dr. Roland Müller, Brugg, Switzerland, possibly February 1971 [4]; sold through Christie's New York (sale 8982, lot 272) to Michael Shapiro Gallery, San Francisco, October 6, 1998 [5]; purchased by Thomas Walther, 1998 [6]; given to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
    [1] Roland Müller, e-mail to Simon Bieling, April 16, 2005.
    [2] Ibid. This series was acquired in a lot comprising one to two hundred thousand photographs.
    [3] Ibid.
    [4] Ibid.
    [5] MacGill/Walther 2001(4), p. 12; and Shapiro Gallery invoice no. 98-158, October 9, 1998. The series was purchased from Christie's by the gallery on behalf of Thomas Walther.
    [6] Shapiro invoice.


  • Surface Sheen Glossy
  • Techniques Ferrotyping
    Copy print
  • PTM
    View of the recto of the artwork made using reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) software, which exaggerates subtle surface details and renders the features of the artwork plainly visible. Department of Conservation, MoMA
  • Micro-raking
    Raking-light close-up image, as shot. Area of detail is 6.7 x 6.7 mm. Department of Conservation, MoMA
    Raking-light close-up image, processed. Processing included removal of color, equalization of the histogram, and sharpening, all designed to enhance visual comparison. Department of Conservation, MoMA

Paper Material

  • Format Metric
  • Weight Single weight
  • Thickness (mm) 0.18
  • UV Fluorescence Recto negative
    Verso negative
  • Fiber Analysis Softwood bleached sulfite 2%
    Softwood bleached sulfite
    Hardwood bleached sulfite 2%
    Rag 59%
    Bast 9%
    Softwood bleached kraft/soda 2%
  • Material Techniques Developing-out paper
  • XRF

    This work was determined to be a gelatin silver print via X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry.

    The following elements have been positively identified in the work, through XRF readings taken from its recto and verso (or from the mount, where the verso was not accessible):

    • Recto: Al, P, S, Ca, Zn, Sr, Ag, Ba
    • Verso: Al, Si, S, K, Ca, Zn, Sr, Ag, Ba

    The graphs below show XRF spectra for three areas on the print: two of the recto—from areas of maximum and minimum image density (Dmax and Dmin)—and one of the verso or mount. The background spectrum represents the contribution of the XRF instrument itself. The first graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the lower energy range (0 to 8 keV). The second graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the higher energy range (8 to 40 keV).

    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Al, Si, P, S, K, Ca, Ag, Ba
    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Zn, Sr, Ag

In Context

Related Images

Willi Ruge. “Ich fotografiere mich beim Absturz mit dem Fallschirm" (I photograph myself during a parachute jump). Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, no. 21 (May 24, 1931). Ullstein Bild. © 2014 Axel Springer SE

Historical Publications

  • Ruge, Willi. “Ich fotografiere mich beim Absturz mit dem Fallschirm.” Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung 40, no. 21 (May 24, 1931): 844 (as Während des Sturzes, and Die Empfindung der Geschwindigkeit und des Gefahrvollen hatte ich faßt nicht).

    “Falling Parachutists Photographed by Themselves: Mid-Air Snapshots.” Illustrated London News 178, no. 4,810 (June 27, 1931): 1,095 (as The first “self-photograph” ever taken at the moment of his leap into space from an aeroplane in flight: a picture of Herr Boettcher [who made the first of the descents here illustrated] taken by himself as he was falling through the air.).

    “Parachute Jumper Photographs Himself While Falling.” Popular Science, October 1931, p. 44 (as Leaping into Space).

    “He Photographed His Own ‘Chute Jump.’” Weekly Illustrated London, April 20, 1935.

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