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Yousuf Karsh (Canadian, 1908-2002)


Birth Place: Mardín (Mardín province, South-East Anatolian Region, Turkey)

Karsh is internationally known for his portraits of notable people, such as dignitaries, artists, world leaders, and scientists. He emigrated to Canada in 1924, where he came under the care of his uncle, George Nakash, an established photographer. He opened his own portrait studio in 1932 in Ottowa quickly gaining a reputation as a talented photographer.

Karsh published 15 books of his photographs, which include brief descriptions of the sessions, during which he would ask questions and talk with his subjects to relax them as he composed the portrait. Some famous subjects photographed by Karsh were Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Audrey Hepburn, Clark Gable, Dwight Eisenhower, Ernest Hemingway, Fidel Castro, Jacqueline Kennedy, Frank Lloyd Wright, General Pershing, George Bernard Shaw, Georgia O'Keeffe, Grey Owl, Helen Keller, Humphrey Bogart, Indira Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Laurence Olivier, Marian Anderson, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, Muhammad Ali, Pablo Casals, Pandit Nehru, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Paul Robeson, Joan Baez, Peter Lorre, Picasso, Chuck Jones, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Pope Pius XII, Pope John Paul II, Princess Elizabeth, Princess Grace, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Robert Frost, Ruth Draper, Jean Sibelius, W. H. Auden, Carl Jung, Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke, the rock band Rush and, arguably his most famous portrait subject, Winston Churchill. This image poses the qualities that would become the Karsh trademark: strong chiaroscuro to model the sitter's face and to portray the sitter's character.

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