karsh_JFK_Life.jpgAt the Sotheby's auction preview this week I met Beth Iskander, VP of Photographs. We knew we'd met before and realized it was 18 years ago when Beth took me on a tour of the Life magazine archives. I remember seeing the Liz Taylor files and thinking how wonderful it must have been when you got to spend a whole day, and sometimes longer, with a subject, and how few outlets were running full photo spreads any more. 18 years later I launched aCurator magazine with the hope of giving photographers the opportunity to see a whole spread of their work again.

JFK by Yousuf Karsh, cover by Life.


The majority of Karsh's portraits are in portrait format, but I wanted to find some landscapes to take advantage of the full screen magazine. Here you see Jean-Paul Riopelle, Max Ernst, Ravi Shankar, Helen Keller and Polly Thompson, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Bertrand Russell, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Each is photographed in Karsh's signature style in a recognizable environment, except for Lord Russell, who is beautifully framed in silhouette lighting his pipe with a match.

There is plenty more to enjoy on
Karsh's official website. Don't miss the videos, in particular the recreation of the world famous Churchill "Roaring Lion" photograph.

View the feature.

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1954 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Blalock_Alfred_1950_0.jpgHealth care reform has passed the House. Karsh thought he might have become a doctor, but rather he photographed many of the ground breakers of the 20th century including Dr Jonas Salk, Dr Helen Taussig, Dr Christiaan Bernard and Dr Alfred Blalock, to name just a few.

Dr Alfred Blalock, co-developer of the Blalock-Taussig Shunt, 1950 © Yousuf Karsh

Krushchev.jpgMrs Karsh told me today that despite 45 years believing otherwise, she has learned that Chairman Khrushchev's coat is made from lynx. And thus another chance to run this photo presents itself!

Nikita Khrushchev, 1963 © Yousuf Karsh

Alexander Haig was a US army general who served under Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
On a side note, Mr Haig was the recent winner of the Largest Number of Press Prints in the Karsh Archive competition. 

Alexander Haig, 1982 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Hepburn_Ferrer.jpgI found a print of this in the files. I've lost Audrey's hand in the scanning as it's a large print and I don't have time to Photoshop right now. They are so gorgeous together. I've been fortunate to  work with Sean Ferrer, their son, who runs the Audrey Hepburn Foundation, so I sent him a copy.

Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer, 1956 © Yousuf Karsh

Today, Estrellita Karsh is celebrating an important birthday. I won't get too schmaltzy (I can and often do) but Mrs Karsh is a truly special person of whom I am incredibly fond and feel very fortunate to work with. She is an absolute powerhouse and is ceaseless in her efforts to keep Yousuf's name and work in the public conscience. Happy Birthday Estrellita, here's to many more.

Estrellita Karsh, 1963 © Yousuf Karsh

King-ML.jpgIt's MLK Day here in the US, a federal holiday. Karsh photographed him in 1962, a year prior to the March on Washington. "This portrait was taken under the most difficult conditions. We had very little time, and the only place available was a corner of Mr King's church. Nowhere could he relax when he was constantly beset by friends and aides wishing him well, commiserating on his difficulties...planning new strategy. What emerged in my mind and, I trust, in the portrait, was the dedication of the man and his clear vision of ultimate victory."

Martin Luther King, 1962 © Yousuf Karsh

kennedy_ted_karsh.jpgThe Esquire cover was a pretty great way to end 2009 but we also had Ted Kennedy published in the year-end issue of the New York Times magazine. Now that all the boys are dead I wonder what secrets might come out. I understand The History Channel is making a documentary about them and their father for release next year.

Edward Kennedy, 1968 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Updike_John_02.jpgIt's end-of-year obit season and it's been a busy one. Here in the Karsh archive we have at least half a dozen newly dead people. John Updike is here to illustrate the point.

John Updike, 1984 © Yousuf Karsh

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