Sunday, December 23, 2012
Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh was born on December 23, 1908, in Ottoman Turkey and grew up amid massacres of fellow Armenians. He emigrated to Canada in 1924 and, as early as 1936, began taking portraits of visiting statesmen and celebrities, becoming known worldwide as “Karsh of Ottawa.” A master of studio lights, often lighting his subjects’ hands separately, he took renowned portraits of W. H. Auden, Humphrey Bogart, Pablo Casals, Fidel Castro, Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, John F. Kennedy, Pablo Picasso, George Bernard Shaw, Andy Warhol and many others. He took his most famous portrait in 1941 when he politely removed the cigar Winston Churchill was smoking and captured a look of defiance that epitomized the fighting spirit of World War II. It is one of the most reproduced photos of all time.