Yousuf Karsh (Mardin, 1908 - Boston, 2002) was a Canadian photographer of Armenian origin.
he was born in Mardin, in the western part of Armenia that is now part of Turkey. At the age of 14, his family, fleeing the persecution of the Armenian population, took refuge in Syria. Two years later, Yousuf moved to Sherbrooke, in the province of Quebec, (Canada) and lived with an uncle who worked as a photographer.
In Sherbrooke he attended school and in his free time helped his uncle in his professional activity, who noticed his nephew's talents and got him an apprenticeship in Boston with photographer John Garo.
Four years later, Karsh returned to Canada and opened his own studio in Ottawa, near the government headquarters. He was discovered by chance by Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King who introduced him to the political scene, commissioning him to paint portraits of foreign dignitaries on an official visit. Karsh obtained a discreet notoriety, but his fame found him in 1941, on the occasion of Winston Churchill's visit to Ottawa, when he portrayed the British Prime Minister. This photo would be one of the best known and most reproduced photographic portraits in history. He was the one who helped Herman Leonard, photographer of the jazz scene, in his first steps in the world of photography.</ P>
he has photographed many famous people of the s. XX, among them: Alberto Moravia, Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, Audrey Hepburn, Clark Gable, Dwight Eisenhower, Ernest Hemingway, Fidel Castro, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Frank Lloyd Wright, General Pershing, George Bernard Shaw, Georgia O'Keeffe, Gray Owl, Helen Keller, Humphrey Bogart, Indira Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Laurence Olivier, Soong Mayling, Muhammad Ali, Pablo Casals, Pius XII, Jawaharlal Nehru, Paul Robeson, Peter Lorre, Pablo Picasso , Pierre Trudeau, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, John Paul II, Grace Kelly, Ranier III of Monaco, Robert Frost, Ruth Draper.
His works are exhibited in different museums: the National Gallery of Canada, the MOMA, the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, the National Library of France, the National Portrait Gallery of London, and many others. The complete collection of prints, negatives and documentation is kept by the Library of Canada, while its equipment has been donated to the Ottawa Museum of Science and Technology.</ P>
Character, like photography, reveals itself in the dark.