Front / Recto
- Title With My Head Hanging Down before the Parachute Opened . . . from the series I Photograph Myself during a Parachute Jump (Ich fotografiere mich beim Absturz mit dem Fallschirm) (Mit dem Kopf nach unten hängend, bei ungeöffnetem Fallschirm . . .)
- Negative Date 1931
- Print Date 1931
- Medium Gelatin silver print
- Dimensions Image 5 1/2 × 8" (14 × 20.3 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 1849.2001.9
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./b) Mit dem Kopf nach unten hängend, bei ungeöffnetem Fall-/schirm, arbeitete unsere halbautomatische Kamera und brachte/dieses Foto zustande ./Copyright by Fotoaktuell GmbH./Berlin SW. 68, Markgrafenstr. 87.
 "I photograph myself during a parachute jump. The photographer jumps with a parachute. b) With my head hanging down before the parachute opened, our semiautomatic camera functioned and produced this photo."
The artist, Berlin; to Vertrieb für Pressephotos (Christoph Netzle), Zurich, probably 1931 ; to Freudenberg GmbH (Hans Guggenbühl and Guido A. Pozzi), after 1930 and possibly in summer 1945 ; to Internationale Bilderagentur (Dr. Heinz Müller), Oberengstringen, Switzerland, 1945–47 ; to Dr. Roland Müller, Brugg, Switzerland, possibly February 1971 ; sold through Christie's New York (sale 8982, lot 272) to Michael Shapiro Gallery, San Francisco, October 6, 1998 ; purchased by Thomas Walther, 1998 ; given to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
 Roland Müller, e-mail to Simon Bieling, April 16, 2005.
 Ibid. This series was acquired in a lot comprising one to two hundred thousand photographs.
 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.
 Shapiro invoice.
- Format Metric
- Weight Single weight
- Thickness (mm) 0.18
- UV Fluorescence Recto negative Verso negative
- Fiber Analysis Softwood bleached sulfite 19% Hardwood bleached sulfite 1% Rag 71% Bast 7% Grass 2% Softwood bleached sulfite
- Material Techniques Developing-out paper
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, 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).
“Falling Parachutists Photographed by Themselves: Mid-Air Snapshots.” Illustrated London News 178, no. 4,810 (June 27, 1931): 1,094 (as An amazing “self-photograph” of Herr Willi Ruge, upside-down during his dive from an aeroplane into space, and To describe the feeling I had when I was ‘zooming’ head-downwards towards the ground is almost impossible.).
“Parachute Jumper Photographs Himself While Falling.” Popular Science, October 1931, p. 44 (as Falling Head First).
“Photographs Self during ‘Chute Jump.'” Modern Mechanics and Inventions, November 1931, p. 103 (as A self-photograph of Herr Ruge, upside-down during his dive from an airplane into space).
“He Photographed His Own ‘Chute Jump.'” Weekly Illustrated London, April 20, 1935.
- Cultural Hubs Berlin