Penn-Irving-redo.jpgThe photo world's beloved Irving Penn died yesterday at the ripe old age of 92.

Irving Penn, 1965 © Yousuf Karsh

Dame Elizabeth Taylor announced she is having heart surgery today - she let her public know via Twitter. I do wonder what Mr Karsh would have made of such things.

Elizabeth Taylor, 1943 © Yousuf Karsh

In honor of Gandhi's birthday, Karsh's portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of India.

Jawaharlal Nehru, 1949 © Yousuf Karsh


Buzz Aldrin has been in the news of late, releasing a children's book and memoir, and of course it was the 40th anniversary of the moon landing this year. Karsh photographed the astronauts Michael Collins, Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin and Neil Armstrong in 1969.

Apollo 11 astronauts © Yousuf Karsh


Profoto has an interview with the talented photographer and video artist Jonathan Saunders. JS and I have recently bonded over Bernie Madoff portraits, Michael Jackson's underpants, and swearing.

Image from 'Ohio' © Jonathan Saunders

QE-II.jpgSomeone sent me an email showing pictures of Queen Elizabeth with 11 US presidents. Here she is in 1951, a year before ascending the throne. Karsh photographed all those presidents except Bush and Obama (the archive has photos of Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, James Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton).

Queen Elizabeth II, 1951 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Taussig_Helen.jpgI have a treasured role representing the Karsh estate for licensing. Every day I get to look at his incredible archive and grant rights to publish his work. Today I'm looking at Dr. Helen Taussig, who basically founded pediatric cardiology and, alongside Dr Alfred Blalock at Johns Hopkins Hospital, came up with a cure for 'blue baby syndrome'. One of the colleges at Johns Hopkins in the School of Medicine has been named in her honor and the students would like to hang a copy in their college room so we gave permission and sent a TIFF file. I too love this warm portrait of Dr Taussig. Our portrait of Dr Blalock features the good man smoking a cigarette. Those were the days!

Dr. Helen Taussig, 1975 © Yousuf Karsh


Charles Britt, photographer and master scanner to the Karsh Estate, has recently digitized more Fidel Castro prints. Here's the story of Karsh's shoot with the Cuban leader.

"I arrived in Havana on the twenty-sixth of July, Cuba's national holiday, in time to hear this charismatic speaker address thousands of people in a rousing endorsement of the benefits of the Revolution. It was, for Castro, a short speech-two-and-a-half hours instead of his customary six. For the next three days, my companion and tour guide was Celia Sanchez, Cuba's wiry, energetic Secretary of State. From the three sites Ms. Sanchez offered for photography, I chose a simple ceremonial room, its stark walls and bookshelves suggesting a barracks, which turned out to be Castro's favorite office.

Not until an anxiety-filled hour before my scheduled departure did the Foreign Office confirm that Castro was ready. Dressed in army fatigues, looking grave and tired, Castro shook my hand warmly. Apologizing for the delay, he removed his belt and pistol and placed them beside him with a weary gesture. Our photographic session lasted three-and-a-half hours, punctuated by refreshments of Cuban rum and Coke and shared memories of the famous author and beloved former Cuban resident, Ernest Hemingway."

Fidel Castro, 1971 © Yousuf Karsh

Okeeffe-Georgia-01.jpgAny excuse to publish this portrait: 'Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction' is on at the Whitney Museum here in NYC from September 17, 2009 to January 17, 2010.

Georgia O'Keeffe, 1956 © Yousuf Karsh

King-ML.jpgDreamworks acquired the rights to produce a film on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King in 2009. Karsh photographed him in 1962 in Atlanta, Georgia, saying "No man in America personified better than Martin Luther King the dedication of his people to their inalienable rights."

Martin Luther King, 1962 © Yousuf Karsh

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