Yousuf Karsh – Photos and Artwork

About Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh was a prolific Armenian-Canadian photographer, known for his portraits of prominent people. He is recognized as one of the greatest portrait photographers of the 20th century. Karsh arrived in Canada as a refugee from the Armenian genocide in 1924 and started practicing photography in the 1930s.

Karsh’s apprenticeship under Boston photographer John H. Garo set him on his course to become a portraiture photographer. His goal was to show what lies beneath every individual’s exterior through their portraits. Karsh had an exceptional ability to make his subjects feel at ease during their sittings, enabling them to reveal an inner character that transmitted itself on film.

Karsh captured famous figures like Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Grace Kelly, and Marilyn Monroe, creating iconic images that defined their public image forevermore. In 1951 he photographed Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II), capturing her poised but youthful spirit.

It is estimated that Karsh had over fifteen thousand sittings and produced more than two hundred fifty thousand negatives throughout his career. The impact he made on portrait photography worldwide earned him numerous accolades during his lifetime, including being awarded O.C., C.C., LL.D., D.Litt., D.F.A – honorary degrees from academic institutions across North America – and being appointed Officer in the Order of Canada by Queen Elizabeth II in 1967 for ‘making an outstanding contribution to Canadian culture.’

Photographs from Yousuf Karsh

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