Friday, August 19

Jump for joy

Audrey Hepburn   ©Philip Halsman
“The kid in me likes gadgets and toys – could you include some in your blog?” was the request in an email I received. “A good idea, I love gadgets too”, I replied. “Any suggestions?” 

To my surprise the suggestion was not the last word in electronic gadgetry, but a decidedly low tech one with a high fun factor.

“Here’s a gadget that definitely takes me back to my childhood - a pogo stick,” he wrote. “I used to have one when I was a kid, but I am not being nostalgic here. The new modified pogo sticks simply bring out the kid in me. Trust me - when grown ups bounce around, they turn into kids”. 

Interesting point and  it looks like fun, but not quite for me; jumping to such heights seems a tad risky & requires skill. On the other hand, it should not be dismissed so quickly. After all, there seems to be a clear connection between jumping, childhood and happiness.

Think of the phrase “jump for joy” which describes extreme happiness. Then think how often you see kids jumping up and down when they are happy and excited. Adults do too, but on rare occasions (it often requires something like a lottery win).  It’s clear – kids are simply less inhibited when they are happy, and it doesn’t take a lot to make them happy. So we should learn from kids to loosen up & appreciate the fun stuff more.

 Marylin Monroe   ©Philip Halsman
The main questions about jumping are, however –
  • If being happy makes us want to jump up and down, can jumping up and down cause the reverse – flood our brains with happiness? 
  • We know that physical activity releases mood enhancing chemicals into our brain, but is jumping up and down with a pogo stick, on a trampoline or just in one place would make us happier than any other physical activity? 
Dean martin and Jerry Lewis ©Philip Halsman

Before I started bouncing around I researched the subject but found no direct answers. I then spent some time looking at photos of people jumping. There were plenty such pictures; in fact, there is a form of photography dedicated to it - Jumpology.

Philippe Halsman (1906-1979), the photographer who founded Jumpology, said that when people jump their masks fall off. Not sure about the masks, but what is clear is that his subjects look happy.  Perhaps the extra mood enhancing fun factor is down to the fact that it feels childish and a bit silly?

 Phil Silvers   ©Philip Halsman

In any case, I am sold. Personally, I’m going for the jumping around to music.

Happy jumping. And do keep the suggestions coming.

To learn more:
  • About Jumpology and to see more happy photos of people jumping check this article at Design Modo
  • About modified pogo sticks - FlyBar website


  1. Fantastic photographs, it seems that Halsman had a really refreshing approach to celeb photography. The expressions do suggest that the subjects did drop the public image and just let themselves enjoy the moment, brilliant.

    Pogo sticks - the next big extreme sport? Looks like a lot of fun, for the kids who like a bit of edginess with their fun anyway.

    Really enjoyed this post

  2. Looks like great fun. Love this post. Love the way it introduces the pogo stick & then the subject develops in such an intelligent way. Love the choice of photos too. "You've got it"...

  3. Ah, if our masks fall off, then why do we have photos of performers jumping? In their case, they are wearing their best known masks in these pictures. Of course, they may well be having as much fun as it appears, and performing may be their most essential self. One thing we can be sure of is that it also makes us happy to see other people jumping for joy. After all, those performers are jumping for our joy.
    Forrest D. Poston


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