“Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.” — Yousuf Karsh
Yousuf Karsh was born on this day in Mardin, Ottoman Turkey in 1908. Today is the 104th anniversary of his birth.
Karsh was a child during the Armenian genocide and his family was forced to flee from village to villiage. His sister died of starvation. In 1924 his parents sent him to Sherbrooke, Quebec to live with his uncle, George Nakash who worked as photographer. Karsh showed interested in the art and his uncle arranged an apprenticeship with John Garo, a portrait photographer living in Boston.
After his apprenticeship he returned to Canada and worked in a studio near Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The Prime Minister discovered his work and arranged sittings with visiting dignitaries.
Karsh photographed Winston Churchill when the Britt came to give a speech to the Canadian House of commons in 1941. It became the most reproduced photographic print in history.
He went on to photograph 51 of the 100 most notable people of the century in the International Who’s Who (2000).
He died in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in July of 2002 at the age of 93.
His art has been celebrated on Canadian postage stamps and in 2009 Ottawa hosted a Festival Karsh .