Yousuf_Karsh_Elizabeth_1951.jpgQueen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee is this weekend. This is the portrait that should have been on the cover of every magazine!

Queen Elizabeth II, 1951 © Yousuf Karsh

Perusing the 2009 book of Yousuf Karsh photographs 'Regarding Heroes' this morning I stopped at this portrait of composer Kurt Weill, taken in 1946. About 46 minutes later, I got a request for this same photograph. Not having one in the digital archives, I was rescued as I often am by my colleague in Canada, photographer and scanner-man, Charles Britt, who made this beauty.

'Regarding Heroes', like so many Karsh publications, is full of great stories, so herewith, Mr. Karsh on Mr. Weill: "...His 'Threepenny Opera', 'One Touch of Venus', and 'Lady in the Dark' were all certified triumphs when I photographed him at his country home in Rockland County outside New York, where, for the first time, he was enjoying financial success. "It is lots of fun to have a smash hit," he remarked happily. The farmhouse was near a running trout stream which we both could hear and see as this photograph was being taken. The session was sometimes boisterously interrupted by his sheep dog, Wooly."

Kurt Weill, 1946 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Salk_CMLA-Invitation-1.jpgAlmost without exception, the business I do for the Estate of Yousuf Karsh brings me great joy and also keeps me grounded.

Dr. Peter Salk and I have been in touch over the past couple of years; we've compared photos of his father, Dr. Jonas Salk, and the Estate happily grants permission for the photographs to be used in various settings. As you can see, Dr. Salk has a lecture coming up on April 27th at Cleveland Medical Library Association.

"Dr. Salk's lecture will explore the broader aspects of his father's legacy and their potential contributions to helping humanity address its present and future challenges and opportunities. Dr. Salk graduated from Harvard University in 1965 and from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1969. Following two years of training in internal medicine at the University Hospitals of Cleveland, he worked in his father's laboratory at the Salk Institute (1972-1984) conducting research on immunotherapy of cancer, autoimmune disease and strategies for vaccine production. He worked again with his father from 1991-1995 on a project to develop an inactivated HIV vaccine, and subsequently worked on the introduction of AIDS treat- ment programs in Africa and Asia. Since 2009 Dr. Salk has been the President of the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation."

Karsh_Glenn_John_1968.jpgToday marks 50 years since John Glenn's orbit around the earth, circling it three times in five hours.

I hope to live long enough and have enough money to take a trip myself, Virgin Galactic or otherwise.

I find it almost impossible to imagine this great nation so forward-looking as I watch the desperate attempts by the right to roll back progress.

John Glenn, 1968 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Giacometti_Alberto_02.jpg"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."

Yousuf Karsh made more than 15,000 sittings across six decades. This feature is but a small selection of the artists he photographed.

There is lots of information and images on the official Karsh website, it's great value so I recommend a long visit.

View the full screen magazine photo feature.

Alberto Giacometti, 1965 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Mubarak_Hosni_03.jpgIt's not all Audrey Hepburn and Helen Keller over here at the Karsh satellite archives - we've got plenty of controversial figures in the files. As protests in Egypt continue into their second year, here is ex-President Hosni Mubarak, photographed by Yousuf Karsh in 1983.

Hosni Mubarak © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Ali_Muhammad_04.jpgOn Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday, an opportunity to publish a couple more Karsh photos from their session in 1970.

And because a Karsh story is always worth repeating:

"Muhammad Ali arrived at my New York studio with a breathless young editor trailing behind. They had jogged together from the 'Look' offices, the young editor carrying Ali's heavy portable telephone which Ali said kept him in "constant contact with the world." Since the editor was a slight young man, I smiled to myself as I imagined this improbable duo and the incredulous stares of the passers-by as they made their way up Madison Avenue."


Muhammad Ali, 1970 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_QE2_Colour.jpg2012 is a big year for the Brits. Queen Elizabeth will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee - here is one of the many photographs Mr Karsh took at four separate sessions across four decades.

"Official portrait of British monarch HM Queen Elizabeth II pictured at Buckingham Palace wearing the mantle and Star of the Order of the Garter. This 40th birthday picture was officially released on February 8th, 1966."

It is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens so there's probably not much else on TV this year other than stateliness and period drama.

Queen Elizabeth II birthday portrait, 1966 © Yousuf Karsh

karsh_rev_graham_04.jpgContrary to a news report by Charlotte, North Carolina's WBTV this weekend, Billy Graham is not dead. The 93 year-old reverend is hospitalized with pneumonia. According to Wikipedia, including Obama, Billy Graham has now personally met with twelve US presidents, the same number that Mr Karsh photographed during his career.

Looking through a Google image search on the rev, you can't deny he's always had pretty amazing hair.

Reverend Billy Graham, 1972 © Yousuf Karsh

The cover of the December 5th, 2011 issue of The New Yorker features a bookstore selling more merchandise than books. Notice on the left a row of handbags, one of which is the Yousuf Karsh portrait of Ernest Hemingway. Much purloined over the years, he's been discovered on bottles of rum, T shirts, restaurant menus, and even iPad apps. Long live Ernest Hemingway.

"I expected to meet in the author a composite of the heroes of his novels. Instead, in 1957, at his home Finca Vigía, near Havana, I found a man of peculiar gentleness, the shyest man I ever photographed - a man cruelly battered by life, but seemingly invincible. He was still suffering from the effects of a plane accident that occurred during his fourth safari to Africa. I had gone the evening before to La Floridita, Hemingway's favorite bar, to do my "homework" and sample his favorite concoction, the daiquiri. But one can be overprepared! When, at nine the next morning, Hemingway called from the kitchen, "What will you have to drink?" my reply was, I thought, letter-perfect: "Daiquiri, sir." "Good God, Karsh," Hemingway remonstrated, "at this hour of the day!""

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