Cade 7 January 18, 2018 Yousuf Karsh Yousuf

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Cade Hurley
Ms. Carney
Photography II Period 7
January 18, 2018

Yousuf Karsh
Yousuf Karsh was born in 1908 to Armenian parents in what was then the Ottoman

Empire. When he was 14, his family fled the Armenian genocide into Syria. After being
sent to Canada by his parents, Karsh learned photography from his uncle and apprenticed
in Boston under noted Armenian photographer John H. Karo. In 1932, Karsh established
his first practice in Ottawa under the professional name “Karsh of Ottawa”. A friendship
with Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King allowed him to photograph visiting
dignitaries at Parliament Hill. This arrangement led to his first breakthrough into fame
when he photographed Winston Churchill during World War II. The photograph was
featured on the cover of Life Magazine and became one of the most recognizable portraits
in history. This one photograph instantly made him one of the most famous photographers
in the world.

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In addition to launching his fame, the Churchill portrait came to characterize his
style of dramatic lighting and tight frames, always in black and white. He always became
known for photographing some of the world’s most notable personalities during the war
and post-war years. People such as Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro,

Audrey Hepburn, Andy Warhol, Helen Keller, and Martin Luther King, Jr. had their
portraits taken by Karsh. He once snidely said that he photographed famous people “for his
own immortality.” He is now recognized as the preeminent portrait photographer of the
twentieth century, especially with regards to monumental subject photography. Over
350,000 of his works and negatives are kept in Canada’s Library and Archives collection
(Canada’s version of the library of Congress). Life Magazine put twenty-two pictures of
his on their cover before he retired in 1992. Karsh died in 2002 at the age of 93. 

Categories: Photography


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