Rus Articles Journal

Who such Yusuf Karsh?

passed Five years from the date of death of the Canadian photographer of the Armenian origin Yusuf Karsh. Century since birth comes nearer. The remarkable photographs made by Karsh to a vsegd will surprise future generations with masterful execution and special love which glimmers in each work, leaving them live for ages. It depicted many famous people, and exactly thanks to it we will know how celebrated personalities of the period of history in which the great and modest Armenian photoportraitist Yusuf Karsh made looked. From 100 most remarkable people of the XX century, according to poll of International Who`s Who in 2000, Karsh photographed even 51. Having been born

in the city of Mardin, on Hugo - the East of Turkey in far 1908, he was forced to run together with a family to Syria, escaping from the Turkish yataghan. Having located in Syria, parents sent Yusuf to Canada to the uncle George (Grigor) Nagash. There Karsh got an education and began to work in studio of the uncle Dzhorzha. Having noticed photographic talent of Yusuf, Nagash sent the nephew to study at the photographer - the portraitist John Garo to Boston.

In four years Karsh returned to Canada and founded own studio in the center of Ottawa. Works of the photographer always attracted raznnobrazny celebrities, but the real glory came in 1941 when Winston Churchill visited Ottawa and... it was photographed in Karsh`s studio. It happened in December. The Canadian prime minister - the minister U. L. Makenzi - King, the close friend and Karsh`s patron, made everything in order that it was possible to photograph Churchill at once after his performance before both chambers of the Canadian parliament. Karsh was given two minutes to make one picture. Churchill entered and began to expect impatiently, smoking just lit cigar. Karsh who had no intention to include a cigar in a portrait approached it and told: Sir, here ashtray . Without having achieved result, he told excuse and at the same time took a cigar from Churchill and pressed descent. Churchill approached, shook hands and noticed: Yes, you, undoubtedly, can calm a furious lion and photograph him . Eleonora Roosevelt, having learned about this incident, commented: It probably was the first serious defeat of Churchill . It was the portrait which made Karsh known.

When Karsh arrived to Finland to photograph the famous composer Sibelius, he had his camera 8 by 10 of inches and hundreds of pounds of equipment, but it turned out that tension in the power supply network was insufficient. And while tried to obtain permission of the authorities to be connected to the main power line, Sibelius charmed Karsh by stories which told with infectious cheerfulness. Karsh`s lenses found an opportunity to find a true image, the reflecting spirit and the genius of the respectable composer.

Yusuf Karsh in the photographic portraits transforms a human face to a legend. He does not use decorative bends of a drapery or motley backs as a background, he creates the necessary background by means of light and establishes its ratio with clothes of removed. In Nehru, Sibelius`s portraits and Marian Anderson the object is allocated with the fact that strictly certain amount of light directed to it is contrastly emphasized with a dark suit and very dark background. In photos of Show and Churchill Karsh makes impression of space and depth by means of lighting effects, and this impression even more amplifies successfully found turn of the head, the movement of hands, clothes and other details. Karsh carefully organizes each photo, paying a lot of attention both to a background, and to modeling of structure of the person and a figure by means of lighting. The portrait will be organized on all space of a shot. The characteristic becomes an attractive point, and the viewer`s eyes, having passed on all composition, again come back to this point. Lighting looks natural though the quantity and the sizes of light sources are attentively calculated, and the impression is made that posing sits in the quiet atmosphere of the court yard lit with beams of not really bright sunlight. Each part of the photo is harmoniously connected by the balanced relation of a form and volume of a figure, between the dark and lit sites.

The excellent equipment of Karsh can externally create what is not present in nature of object. Its portrait style which he removed financial giants was embodied in excessively drama, magnificent photos in which the external power without the internal force accompanying it obviously appeared.

Karsh spoke about the profession so: If there is a main objective in my work, then its essence - to imprint the best in people and, carrying out it, to remain true to itself... I was very lucky to meet many great men and women. These are people who will leave a mark on our time. I used the chamber to make their portraits such what they seemed to me and as I felt what they remained in memory of the generation .]