Another gem from the Karsh archives. I recently watched the original 'Italian Job' for the umpteenth time - it features a stellar performance from Noel Coward as an overly-patriotic, jail-dwelling mobster (Donald Sutherland nominally takes this place in the not-too-awful remake).

Noel Coward, 1943 © Yousuf Karsh

Ekberg-A.jpgUPDATE AUGUST 2010: The film has been nominated for two Gemini Awards. Congratulations to Ian McLaren of Productions Grand Nord in Canada.
Watch the trailer.

Thanks to Rob Haggart and Brian Clamp for sending information about the screening of the documentary "Karsh is History" at Foto Week DC on November 10th 2009. Productions Grand Nord, in association with The Portrait Gallery of Canada and BRAVO! present this 52 minute film about the life and talent of Mr Karsh which debuted at the Festival International Du Film Sur L'Art in Montréal in March. I'm in it, but Annie Liebovitz has a bit more camera-time.

Of Anita Ekberg, Karsh said "Her natural behavior resembled the love goddesses she portrayed - uninhibited and seductive, and totally without guile."

Anita Ekberg, 1956 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Churchill.jpgIt is 70 years ago today that Winston Churchill made his famous pronouncement in the House of Commons: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Of his famous session with the PM, Karsh said "My portrait of Winston Churchill changed my life. I knew after I had taken it that it was an important picture, but I could hardly have dreamed that it would become one of the most widely reproduced images in the history of photography. In 1941, Churchill visited first Washington and then Ottawa. The Prime Minister, Mackenzie King, invited me to be present. After the electrifying speech, I waited in the Speaker's Chamber where, the evening before, I had set up my lights and camera. The Prime Minister, arm-in-arm with Churchill and followed by his entourage, started to lead him into the room. I switched on my floodlights; a surprised Churchill growled, "What's this, what's this?" No one had the courage to explain. I timorously stepped forward and said, "Sir, I hope I will be fortunate enough to make a portrait worthy of this historic occasion." He glanced at me and demanded, "Why was I not told?" When his entourage began to laugh, this hardly helped matters for me. Churchill lit a fresh cigar, puffed at it with a mischievous air, and then magnanimously relented. "You may take one." Churchill's cigar was ever present. I held out an ashtray, but he would not dispose of it. I went back to my camera and made sure that everything was all right technically. I waited; he continued to chomp vigorously at his cigar. I waited. Then I stepped toward him and, without premeditation, but ever so respectfully, I said, "Forgive me, sir," and plucked the cigar out of his mouth. By the time I got back to my camera, he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me. It was at that instant that I took the photograph."

Watch a reenactment of the making of the photograph on the Karsh website.

Winston Churchill, 1941 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Buffett_Warren.jpgDipping in to the Karsh archive to get some more prints digitized, I just cleaned up Warren Buffett. Buffett became a billionaire on paper in 1990, the year Karsh photographed him.

Warren Buffett, 1990 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Shankar_Raga_DVD.jpgIn October, East Meets West Music, the official recording label of The Ravi Shankar Foundation, will release a remastered 'Raga: A Journey into the Soul of India'. Originally released in 1971, the film documents the life of the sitar master in the late 60's.

The Estate of Yousuf Karsh supported the Foundation with the use of this photograph of Shankar from 1966.

Read more / Watch the trailer.

Ravi Shankar © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Steichen_Joanna.jpgJoanna Steichen met Edward through Carl Sandburg in 1959 and Yousuf Karsh photographed them at their home in Connecticut in 1965. When they married, she was 27, he was 80. She died last month, at home in Montauk.

Edward and Joanna Steichen, 1965 © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Herman_Leonard.jpgHerman Leonard had a breath-taking life, from his early days assisting Yousuf Karsh to his years spent in Paris photographing fashion to his nights in Harlem photographing jazz legends, and on throughout the years. I interviewed him for ZOOZOOM about his fashion work, and felt lucky to be able to also chat with him about the famous sitting with Albert Einstein on which he assisted Karsh in 1948. I didn't meet Herman until he was well into his 80's but he behaved like a young man, enthusiastic about photography, forward-looking and creative with his archive. His prints left damaged by Hurricane Katrina make for moving viewing.

"Quincy Jones once said, 'I used to tell cats that Herman Leonard did with his camera what we did with our instruments. Looking back across his career, I'm even more certain of the comparison: Herman's camera tells the truth, and makes it swing. Musicians loved to see him around. No surprise; he made us look good.'"

Herman Leonard, 1923 - 2010  © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Vaughn_Williams_02.jpgIn the fall this year the Cantata Singers begin their Ralph Vaughan Williams season in Boston. "Cantata Singers inspires, engages, and challenges listeners through daring juxtapositions of music old and new, compelling programming, and exceptional artistry."

Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1949 © Yousuf Karsh

John Wooden was an American basketball coach. He was a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (class of 1961) and as a coach (class of 1973) and was the first person ever enshrined in both categories. Wooden died of natural causes aged 99 on June 4th, 2010.

John Wooden © Yousuf Karsh

Karsh_Lego.jpgThanks go to Mike Stimpson for raising a smile by including Karsh's Winston Chuchill in his Classics in Lego™ homage to the great photographs of our time.

See more on Facebook, Flickr.

Recent Entries