Blog

#FocusThursday - Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh, (December 23, 1908 – July 13, 2002) was an Armenian–Canadian portrait photographer. He has been called one of the great portrait photographers of the 20th century by Time magazine and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the latter noting the "distinct style in his theatrical lighting." - Wikipedia

Karsh is one of the great past masters of portrait photography, in my mind standing alongside Avedon and Penn as one of the best photographers who ever lived. Karsh understood that which I have learnt through hundreds of photo shoots, said in his own words here... "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."

Karsh was a master of studio lighting and there is much for me to glean through his work. As I continue to create and eventually gain access to a larger studio and more lighting equipment, I hope to develop the subtleties of studio lighting that Karsh achieved in his work. It is a combination of his depth of lighting knowledge and his ability to interact with his subjects that achieves such breathtaking results.