Karsh


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William Lyon Mackenzie King and Winston Churchill, 1941 © Yousuf Karsh

We're all familiar with the portrait of Winston Churchill that Yousuf Karsh made in December, 1941, after Churchill finished his famous "some chicken, some neck!" speech at the Canadian Parliament. The story behind the Roaring Lion, as the photograph has come to be known, is not apocryphal: Karsh did whip the cigar from Churchill's mouth. But the funniest part of the story is that William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, kind of set Karsh up. He hadn't told Churchill he was to be photographed and Churchill was not amused upon being delivered to Karsh's set. "Why was I not told?" he bellowed, and apparently everyone else in the room laughed. "This did not help my cause any!" complains Karsh, in this fabulous clip from "60 Minutes with Morley Safer." 

Churchill gave Karsh permission to make one more photograph, in which he is smiling broadly, as he is here, where Mr King has clearly enjoyed his little game.
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The Marx Brothers, 1948 © Yousuf Karsh

We are proud to have this portrait of the Marx Brothers presented as part of the supporting materials for the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow's exhibition "Andy Warhol: Ten Portraits of Famous Jews of the Twentieth Century" which is on now. There is an interview with the curator on the New Contemporary website about the differences between this exhibition and its original that showed at the Jewish Museum in New York in 1980.
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Michael Caine on the set of 'Zulu,' © Yousuf Karsh

It is 50 years since Michael Caine appeared in his first major film role, as Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in 'Zulu.' Karsh worked on-set. Not a lot of people know that


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Neil Armstrong, 1969 © Yousuf Karsh

I just spotted this glorious colour photo of Neil Armstrong whilst researching another subject, and was compelled to publish it. It would make for a good caption contest, you can leave suggestions on Facebook if you like!
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Mies van der Rohe, 1962, © Yousuf Karsh

This portrait of Mies van der Rohe was made during the first photo shoot that the newly-married Estrellita Karsh attended, in 1962. She talks about how she watched Mr. Karsh take the "imposing buddha in a wheelchair" to a corner in the architect's Bauhaus home for a quiet conversation, seeing a relationship develop, as if "a doctor with a patient." Mrs Karsh tells this story in an article for French magazine 'Beaux-Arts,' to be published in conjunction with a major exhibition at the Mona Bismarck American Center for art and culture, in October.

"The exhibition at the Mona Bismarck American Center for art & culture will reunite approximately seventy of the photographer's most striking portraits of French and American dignitaries and luminaries, juxtaposing Frank Lloyd Wright with Le Corbusier, for example, and Charles de Gaulle with Dwight Eisenhower. Original photographs will be presented alongside archival material from the dozens of Life and Paris-Match covers that Karsh captured, marking the transformation of his intimate portraits into public icons."

Then in November, we'll be at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC!

"In celebration of a major gift to its collection of more than 100 portraits created by renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002), the National Portrait Gallery will present the exhibition Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits. Opening November 1, 2013, this exhibition will feature iconic photographs of Americans who have distinguished themselves in fields as diverse as business, medicine, entertainment, politics, and the arts. Among the portraits to be included will be those of artist Georgia O'Keeffe, physician and virologist Jonas Salk, singer Marian Anderson, actress Grace Kelly, businesswoman Elizabeth Arden, architect I.M. Pei, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits will be the museum's first exhibition devoted entirely to the work of this internationally recognized portrait photographer."
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Buckminster Fuller, 1980 © Yousuf Karsh

Life.com published a piece about Buckminster Fuller today and I fancied showing this gorgeous Karsh portrait of the fascinating architect, inventor and futurist. In the 'Life' article it quotes Bucky saying "I did not set out to design a geodesic dome, I set out to discover the principles operative in Universe. For all I knew, this could have led to a pair of flying slippers."
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Thatcher, 1974 © Yousuf Karsh

Here she is, looking as if butter wouldn't melt. Bye, Maggie. Mandela outlived you, which is very satisfying. Rest in all the peace you deserve...
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The main nod I give to Thanksgiving each year is for Mrs Karsh. I could not be more thankful for this constant in my life. For the trust she places in me, the incredible photographs I represent, and for her friendship. I must not forget my close mate, Jerry Fielder, the curator and director for the Estate - these titles say nothing about what Jerry does and who he is.

In any event, this is the image that I am currently licensing - the right honorable Brian Mulroney, former PM of Canada. 'Parks Canada' will be using it in an interactive exhibit. Their Agent, Contenu Internet et nouveaux médias, made of point to tell me how much he enjoys this blog! Je suis honoré.

Brian Mulroney, 1985 © Yousuf Karsh
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Karsh_Rank.jpgBong! Who knows why I woke up today with the Rank gong in my head but here we are. Lord J. Arthur Rank aka 1st Baron Rank was a British industrialist and film producer, and founder of the Rank Organization, and he established Pinewood Studios where my once-fabulous photo agency was based for a couple of years. This photograph may well have been taken there.











J. Arthur Rank, 1949 © Yousuf Karsh

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Karsh_Gurley_Brown_Helen_02_med.jpgHow's about this classic colour photograph of author and publisher Helen Gurley Brown taken in 1992 at the very end of Karsh's commercial career. As one of our clients said, "very 'Dallas'!"












Helen Gurley Brown © Yousuf Karsh
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