Youseuf Karsh




Yousuf Karsh, a Canadian photographer of ethnic-Aemenian birth, and one the world‘s best known portraitists of his time. Karsh was born in Mardin, a city in the southeast region of Turkey. At the age of 14, he fled with his family to the safety of Syria to escape persecution after the Armenian Genocide six years earlier. Two years later, young Yousuf was sent to live with uncle George Nakash, a photographer in Quebec, Canada. Karsh attended school there briefly and assisted in his uncle’s studio. Nakash saw great potential in his nephew and, in 1928, arranged for Karsh to apprentice with portrait photographer John Garo of Boston. Karsh returned Prime Minister, Mackenzie King, discovered the yet unknown Karsh and took a liking to him. His work was attracting the attention of brought Karsh international prominence, and is claimed to be the most reproduced photographic portrait in history. Karsh said “My chief joy is to photograph the great in heart, in mind, and in spirit, whether they be famous or humble...All I know is that within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can. The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize."