Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) was born in the city of Mardan (Turkey) and was raised there until the age of sixteen when he immigrated to Canada.
Karsh was of Armenian descent and lived through the first “Holocaust“, the Armenian Genocide. He was sent to his uncle, a photographer, in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Undoubtedly, Yousuf Karsh was Canada’s greatest photographer whose work was published in fifteen books.
In many of these books, we learn a lot about the sitters themselves and the photographic sessions by his accurate descriptions of them. Karsh had developed a masterly knowledge of portraiture and lighting, and placed much of his attention to the composure of the hands of the sitter as to the face or body of the sitters.
Many of the world’s greatest leaders and famous personalities in the Arts were photographed by him over time. Perhaps the sitter’s hands reflected the “soul” of the person, as much as, the eyes can and we see this in most of his portraits. Look at the expression of the hands in the portrait above.
A wonderful book (1967) this folio sized (10″x 12.5″) Karsh Portfolio published by Thomas Nelson & Sons (London) and the University of Toronto Press, Camden, N. J. The exceptional printing in black and white gravure was done in The Netherlands by the Johan Enschede Printing Company, one of the finest in the world. The plates were printed with special ink and wear well with exceptional stark black color, on my book copy the binding is somewhat foxed, but this is to be almost expected.
If you were “Karshed”, your photograph would reign in the immortal category of instant world wide fame.
If you do not recognize these two portraits above, then this post was not for you! The words written by this author (below) seem to fall between the lips and his hands even though his mouth is closed.