Karsh_Mandela_02.jpgI have worked with the Estate of Yousuf Karsh for several years, and I edited text for the official Yousuf Karsh website, but I still hear stories about the shoots that I have never heard before. Tooling around today I found a comment from 2009 in an article on The Online Photographer, Mike Johnston's extensive photo blog, about Karsh's most recent book 'Regarding Heroes', from a reader who had attended the opening at the Art Institute of Chicago. Director and Curator for the Estate, Jerry Fielder, had related the story of Karsh's 1990 session with Mandela, and confirms this is what happened.

I personally never had the opportunity to meet Mr Karsh but it's easy to gather he was extremely charming and entertaining. The commenter, Ken Tanaka, put it so well, I hope he doesn't mind me lifting his comment.

"In 1990 Karsh was to photograph Nelson Mandela. Mandela arrived at Karsh's studio in Ottawa with only an hour of rest after his long trip from South Africa. Karsh was normally a master of establishing quick rapport with his sitters but he could see that Mandela was just plain exhasuted and that getting that "public mask" off would be very hard at that moment.

So Karsh decided to try telling Mandela a story to warm things up. He recounted a recent session in which he photographed the Pope. While chatting, he asked him, "How many people work at the Vatican?". The Pope considered the question for a moment, as if trying to formulate an accurate answer, and then replied, "About half.". For a moment Mandela's exhaustion and troubles lifted as he found the little story hilarious. Click! Karsh managed to capture that moment in this portrait."

This is one of the results.

Nelson Mandela © Yousuf Karsh

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London-based Katie Ell is a colleague of aCurator-featured photographer Michael Corridore who kindly directed her to the magazine, prompting her to submit 'A Piece of My Mind', the latest collaboration by Katie and Creative Director Paul Alexandrou.

"From the wildly irreverent to the deeply heartfelt, the series documents the different words and messages people choose to have tattooed on their bodies. Collected over a nine-month period, the project explores the power of language, the line between public and private, and the universal need to share what's on our mind."

An exhibition opens in London at Tapestry, 52 Frith Street, W1, from January 10th to March 10th, 2011.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Katie is a commercial photographer shooting celebrity portraits, fashion and art projects. A trip to her website is a good time.

Sparky © Katie Ell
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Come to the NY opening of Dirk Anschütz' new solo exhibition of his fabulous portrait series 'The Sultans': Turkish men of a certain age in all their patriarchal glory. As I've mentioned before, Dirk is a most entertaining photographer and story-teller, as evidenced on his blog. You can read the back story on The Sultans at The Heavy Light. I think Dirk is also onto something with a new and interesting concept on rent-to-buy art. Read more.

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Karolina Sekula sent this wonderfully eloquent statement to accompany her series on newly-single women. 

"Every year statistics reveal tens of thousands of divorces in Poland. The number becomes even greater when you count in unmarried couples that break up. In 2010 those statistics strangely and unexpectedly started including a large group of my friends and... myself. I began photographing women close to me that recently split up with their life partners, just like I did. All of the photographs were taken in my models' houses, when the first emotions had already been coped with and were replaced by sadness and melancholy."

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This hooded man kicking in a door led the submission from Nashville photographer Chris Hollo. "The Door Project began as an idea on a return flight. It occurred to me that you never really know what to expect when you answer the front door." The concept tickled me. Having spent the first half of my life in the suburbs of London, I could relate, but as a resident of New York City I have a techno-tune video intercom and a doorman (whose intercom ring is reminiscent of an 80's novelty car horn) at the entrance to my apartment building, and a spy-hole at my front door. As aCurator, I sometimes crave a bit more humour in the submissions, so I thank Chris for helping start the new year with a dose thereof. 


I was really pleased when Chris told me that he is an adjunct at Nashville State Community College and he references aCurator in one of the classes he teaches, Special Topics, a project photography class where the students get to declare a project, write up a project statement and then spend the semester working on it before exhibiting it publicly. You can see some of his students' work here.

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A short interview with yours truly from SlideShowPro about aCurator photo magazine. SSP is the platform upon which top web designer bigflannel built the mag. With thanks to Todd Dominey.

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Hot off the press! This special edition newspaper from Arkitip features images from the archive of Janette Beckman in a 24-page photo-heavy collectible. Yours for only $7.50.
 
aCurator with preview copy, NYC © Janette Beckman

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The lovely Manjari Sharma has an exhibition opening at Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Culver City, LA on January 8th with the show up through February 12th. Prints from Manjari's Water series will be on view. There will be a closing reception that she will be "flying in from India for" and there will be an Indian food truck! Sigh.

Read more on Manjari's blog.

From the Shower Series © Manjari Sharma

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Writer/Photographer Ricky Powell posted this bonkers interview with Janette Beckman, which they did together while wandering through Central Washington Square Park last summer, chatting about the musicians, scenes and fans Janette has photographed in her brilliant career. It is a really really good read!

As Ricky says of JB, "Peep her shit. You'll be like, "Whhhaaattt?!""

Skinheads © Janette Beckman

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aCurator is pleased to begin a new year with an artist whose work I have admired for some time. 

Jen Davis' photographs have been widely exhibited since she graduated with her BA in 2002 (she subsequently gained an MFA in Photography from Yale University School of Art in 2008), and I have seen them in many, varied locations, most recently as part of FlakPhoto's 100 Portraits series. Brian Clamp introduced me to her photographs some time ago. It wasn't until I met her at Aperture's Snap! Benefit* in November, that I worked up courage to press her about a feature. She kindly pulled the images together during the holidays and here we are. Thanks to mutual friend, photographer Adam Krause, for endorsing me.

View the magazine full screen photo feature.

Untitled No. 34, 2010 © Jen Davis

*click through for a great pic of Jen at the event!

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