Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) was an Armenian-Canadian photographer who was specialized in portrait shots. Time Magazine & the Metropolitan Museum of Art called him one of the great portrait photographers of the 20th century. A true master of lighting, Karsh captured his subjects in their natural state.
Born as an Armenian in what is now Turkey, Karsh experienced the Armenian Genocide as a child. In 1922 he managed to flee with his family to Aleppo, Syria, where he stayed for two years. His father was able to send him to Canada, to join his uncle, who happened to be a photographer, in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Kash began to work for his uncle trying to master the art of photography and from 1928 to 1931 he worked as an apprentice to John H. Garo, in Boston. It was here when Karsh was introduced to artificial lighting techniques. It was here where he learned one of his most distinguishing abilities as a photographer. creating unique dramatic & theatrical lighting for his portraits.
One of Karsh’s distinctive practices was lighting the subject’s hands separately. He photographed many of the great and celebrated personalities of his generation. Throughout most of his career, he used the 8×10 bellows Calumet (1997.0319) camera, made circa 1940 in Chicago.
The Story Behind The Famous Winston Churchill Portrait
Small Gallery of Yousuf Karsh’s work
Founder History of Armenia