Yousuf Karsh (Armenian name: Hovsep Karsh; December 23, 1908 – July 13, 2002), was an Armenian-Canadian photographer known for his portraits of notable individuals. He has been described as one of the greatest portrait photographers of the 20th century. An Armenian Genocide survivor, Karsh migrated to Canada as a refugee. By the 1930s he established himself as a significant photographer in Ottawa, where he lived most of his adult life, though he traveled extensively for work. His iconic 1941 photograph of Winston Churchill was a breakthrough point in his 60-year career, through which he took numerous photos of known political leaders, men and women of arts and sciences. Over 20 photos by Karsh appeared on the cover of Life magazine, until he retired in 1992.
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Karsh is internationally known for his portraits of notable people, such as dignitaries, artists, world leaders, and scientists. He emigrated to Canada in 1924 escaping Armenian genocide in Turkey, where he came under the care of his uncle, George Nakash, an established photographer. He opened his own portrait studio in 1932 in Ottowa, where he quickly gained a reputation as a talented photographer whose clients came to include high-ranking individuals. He achieved international success in 1941 with his famous portrait of Winston Churchill. This image poses the qualities that would become the Karsh trademark: strong chiaroscuro modeling the sitter's face. From 1969, he taught at numerous universities and academies.
Canadian, American, Armenian, Turkish
Artist, Professor, Portraitist, Photographer
Yousuf Karsh, Yousuf Karash
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License