DodhersYousuf Karsh : Universal history made into portraits

Many people have passed through the lens of Yousuf Karsh. From cultural icons like Marilyn Monroe, to historical figures like Winston Churchill. Yousuf Karsh

Many people have passed through the lens of Yousuf Karsh. From cultural icons like Marilyn Monroe, to historical figures like Winston Churchill. Karsh did not have a unique stereotype to photograph: scientists, politicians, communists, capitalists, religious. It could be said that his contribution to photography was unique, universal history made into portraits.

“To experience a Karsh photograph is to feel in the presence of history itself.”

Malcom Rogers

Yousuf Karsh was born on December 23, 1908 in Mardin, Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) during a very difficult epoque full of turmoil: the massacre of the Armenians. At 14 (1922) he went into exile with his family (fled on foot) to Syria, and they were allowed to leave with the condition of leaving behind all their belongings.

Yousuf Karsh in 1936, by Joseph-Alexandre Castonguay | Image Source: Wikipedia

At 16, his father sent him to Quebec to live with his uncle, George Nakash, a photographer with a certain name and reputation in Sherbrooke. At first, he had no intention of becoming a photographer. His initial plan was to become a doctor in his new “motherland”, but his life changed when his uncle, whom he worked with for 4 years, gave him his first camera.

Nakash, upon noticing his talent, decided to send him to Boston as an apprentice to John Garo once Yousuf had finished his studies. Garo was a renowned portrait photographer whose clientele included musicians, statesmen and other renowned characters. During his years as John’s apprentice, he would learn not only the illumination secrets that characterize his works so much, but to observe and meet the person he was going to portray. It was then that he decided to give himself to photography. “Those men and women would leave their mark on the world.”

In 1931 he opened his own studio in Ottawa, near the government’s headquarters. Thanks to the location of his study, the Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King commissioned him to take portraits of foreign dignitaries on official visit.

To be a good portraitist, the essence of the model must be captured and expressed. It is not only limited to shooting and knowing how to illuminate correctly, it goes beyond. Karsh had the gift of being able to reflect the true personality of the model in a single image. He showed the way of being of each character in a portrait.

Most knew him for being a very patient photographer. He took his time to make his subjects feel comfortable and confident, loosening their barriers and thus capturing their true selves. His pictures have been described as “both revealing and respectful” by Ann Shumard, senior curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.

Karsh’s portraits are memorable and humble. They are not just faces transformed into legends. In some, he found affinities of himself and his history. His wife, Estrellita, has told many of the stories behind his sessions, revealing not only a more approachable side of Yousuf’s personality, but also the mutual respect that was present between him as his subjects. He was moved by Mrs. Keller and referred to her as the most sublime woman he had photographed. They both had faced and overcome remarkable difficulties in their lives, but neither got carried away by their hardships. 

“On first looking into her blind but seeing eyes, I said to myself of this woman who had no sight or hearing since the age of three, ‘Her light comes from within’”.

Studio lights and illumination became a second nature to him. He mastered it to perfection, and shaped his models through enlightenment. He emphasized or blurred details of the faces to be portrayed at his convenience. Due to his thorough lighting and technique, many have compared his photographic portraits with baroque paintings. 

A feature very present in almost all of his photographs is the focus on the hands of the models. He illuminated their hands separately, as he saw them as a reflection of people’s lives and sought to highlight this idea. His “taste” for illuminating hands can be seen in the portrait of Churchill, one of his best-known works (either because of the emblematic character or the strength of photography).

“My portrait of Winston Churchill changed my life. I knew after I had taken it that it was an important picture. […] Churchill’s cigar was ever present. I held out an ashtray, but he would not dispose of it […] 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.”

It was that legendary portrait of Churchill that propelled him to stardom. A few years later, he was commissioned to photograph characters such as Picasso, Einstein and Isabel II of England, among other personalities of the time. 

Throughout his photographic life, he made more than 15,000 sessions and left more than 100,000 negatives, of which 17,000 corresponded to portraits made of the most influential men and women in the history of the 20th century. His works are exhibited in different museums, but the complete collection of prints, negatives and documentation is guarded by the Library of Canada.

He retired in 1993, aged 84. He closed his studio and moved to Boston where he died on July 13, 2002.

Tanya Akkari

Having studied International Relations, there’s a present passion for different cultures, people and history which gives rise to an interest in learning and writing about all those subjects.

Magazine

CALL FOR ENTRIES

AN AMAZING PROMOTIONAL TOOL DESIGNED TO EXPOSE YOUR WORK WORLDWIDE

DEADLINE: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 31, 2021

PHOTO: © JO LAUREN | UNITED KINGDOM | ISSUE 10
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Z.jpg

Simply Stunning Landscapes – Would you like to capture stunning landscapes every time you shoot… without having to travel far from home?

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Landscape-and-Nature-dPS-Photography-Course-300x250-1.jpg

Landscape & nature photography is one of the most challenging genres and disciplines to learn, and the costs of getting it wrong can be disappointing

300x250

With ON1 Photo RAW you get the professional photo editing tools every photographer needs to get professional results while keeping your workflow.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

PRINTED EDITION
Interview with Samuel Feron; Published in our printed edition #16

DnaEuropeInterview with Samuel Feron; Published in our printed edition #16

Samuel Feron has been photographing Nature for 2 decades, exploring remote and sparsely habited areas all over the world. He tries to go beyond what the eyes first see, assuming that Nature has secrets in itself.
Interview with Marco Cheli; Published in our printed edition #16

DnaEuropeInterview with Marco Cheli; Published in our printed edition #16

I think that Dodho provides a fantastic opportunity for those who want to be recognized by an informed public and by their peers. Seeing my work in the pages of Dodho, well, it is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me, and I have photography to thank for it.
Interview with Lys Arango; Published in our printed edition #16

DnaEuropeInterview with Lys Arango; Published in our printed edition #16

Time, dedication, and the right rhythm combined with a human approach make the work of Lys Arango one of the most truthful and inspiring photo testimonies of indigenous people.
Interview with France Leclerc; Published in our printed edition #16

AmericaDnaInterview with France Leclerc; Published in our printed edition #16

Canadian Travel photographer France Leclerc tries to find this commonness with joy showing sweet observation through fresh eyes to portray ethnic group communities the world seems to ignore.
Interview with Nikolina Petolas; Published in our printed edition #16

DnaEuropeInterview with Nikolina Petolas; Published in our printed edition #16

I work in several techniques, but what you are reffering to in ’Tale of the Blue Pear’ series  are mostly digital collages combined with digital painting. I also paint in traditional techniques but that is done on canvas or hard board.
Interview with Michele Punturieri; published in our print edition #15

DnaInterview with Michele Punturieri; published in our print edition #15

This work is somewhat impromptu because it has been carried out, so to speak, on the spot and at the moment. Street photography pure, trying to capture the most interesting moments and faces in the places I visited. 
Interview with Dimitri Weber; published in our print edition #15

DnaEuropeInterview with Dimitri Weber; published in our print edition #15

I like the colours on my pictures to pop a bit. To be as natural as possible, while catching the eyes of the people looking at my pictures. So, I enhance some of those colours during my editing process, mostly to give them a homogeneous look that suits my style.
Interview with Ana Maria Robles; published in our print edition #15

AmericaDnaInterview with Ana Maria Robles; published in our print edition #15

There is no doubt that women play a leading role, but they are still a patriarchy and all decisions are made by men who meet in assemblies to discuss everyday issues. The pipes are carved and armed by them and generally match their ornaments in both the Toposa and the Didinga.
TRENDING STORIES
Freelance photographer; Estranged in Iceland by RS Nisio

B&WConceptEuropeFreelance photographer; Estranged in Iceland by RS Nisio

I am trying to visualize the ominous, the bizarre and the cinematic around me through my own lens and following my own rules.
33 Rooms by Sasha Bauer

EuropeStory33 Rooms by Sasha Bauer

After graduating from university in my home town, I moved to St. Petersburg. Like many new arrivals, I needed to rent a place stay. Since I usually rented rooms in shared apartments, the fate of staying in a communal apartment did not pass me by.
Crucification – A Painful Devotion by Avishek Das

AsiaStoryCrucification – A Painful Devotion by Avishek Das

Gajan is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly in the Rural part of West Bengal. Gajan spans around a week, starting at the last week of Chaitra continuing till the end of the Bengali year.
Displaced by Nektarios Markogiannis

B&WEuropeStoryDisplaced by Nektarios Markogiannis

Home and Away, is personal project documenting the lives of the displaced in South Sudan. The Sudan, after an almost half a century long civil war, was finally divided into two countries.
Mountains of fire by Justyna Mikina

B&WBioEuropeMountains of fire by Justyna Mikina

This series of images, 'Montañas del Fuego' (Mountains of Fire) were taken in December 2019 from various locations around the volcanic island of Lanzarote. 
The Concept of Occlusion in Photography! By Raju Peddada

AmericaB&WConceptThe Concept of Occlusion in Photography! By Raju Peddada

The word “Occlude” is a transitive verb, which means to obstruct, block, or prevent, but in photography, it's transmogrifies to an intriguing concept. Obstruction or prevention.
Bali Highlights By Manlio Cosimo De Pasquale

EuropeStoryBali Highlights By Manlio Cosimo De Pasquale

It is not a story, not a reportage with a precise plot, but a collection of shots chosen not on aesthetic bases but based on a more intimate experience related to the moments represented.
The Athenians by Socrates Baltagiannis

B&WCityEuropeFeaturedThe Athenians by Socrates Baltagiannis

Athens, capital of Greece and one of the most historic cities in the world. Also, one of the cities that the media has turn their spotlights on for almost 6 years now, due to the economic crisis.
The Photography of Elena Oganesyan

ConceptEuropeThe Photography of Elena Oganesyan

People tend to hide their innermost feelings. We don’t like to discuss them or express them in daily life. Through photography I connect with my own hidden fears and desires – I can fix my inner chaos.
FEATURED STORIES
Wildlife photography; Land of Giants by Will Burrard-Lucas

B&WBioEuropeFeaturedWildlife photography; Land of Giants by Will Burrard-Lucas

These photographs are part of a larger series documenting the elephants of Tsavo and the work of Tsavo Trust. The full series is published in a new book titled “Land of Giants”.
Under the sign of the rat; Roger the Rat by Roger Ballen

AmericaB&WConceptFeaturedUnder the sign of the rat; Roger the Rat by Roger Ballen

Surreal, refined, disturbing: Roger Ballen has made a name for himself with his special eye for what is usually considered minor or outside, yet is nevertheless profound and touching.
Intimate portraits of animals; Behind Glass by Anne Berry

B&WBioEuropeFeaturedIntimate portraits of animals; Behind Glass by Anne Berry

Behind Glass is a collection of photographs made in monkey houses of small zoos throughout Europe. Anne Berry is recognized for her ability to create lyrical, intimate portraits of animals.
Fictional narrative photography; Birth Undisturbed by Natalie Lennard

ConceptEuropeFeaturedFictional narrative photography; Birth Undisturbed by Natalie Lennard

Birth Undisturbed is a fictional narrative photography series by Natalie Lennard, that brings scenes of natural childbirth into cinematic fine-art tableaux.
Japanese Aquariums by George Nobechi

AsiaFeaturedStoryJapanese Aquariums by George Nobechi

Japanese Aquariums is a journey into some of my oldest, most treasured childhood memories. Whenever I visited my grandparents in the small, northern Japanese city of Otaru, my grandfather, a high school teacher and an enormous influence in my life, would take me to the aquarium.
Greenland; Stories from the Sea by Camille Michel

EuropeFeaturedStoryGreenland; Stories from the Sea by Camille Michel

Greenland became politically independent from Denmark in 1979 and is slowly getting on the path to economic independency. The ‘ice country’ is currently facing the consequences of climate change.
Intimate diary; Jazz Notes by Giuseppe Cardoni

B&WEuropeFeaturedShotIntimate diary; Jazz Notes by Giuseppe Cardoni

It is a declaration of love by Giuseppe Cardoni, but also by an Italian region, Umbria, which has always hosted the most important jazz festivals and where the author took most of his photographs.
Guatemala; Until the corn Grows Back by Lys Arango

EuropeFeaturedStoryGuatemala; Until the corn Grows Back by Lys Arango

Until the corn Grows Back; Lys Arango’s project was selected and published in our print edition 16. Criminal violence in Central America was something that happened very far away and that explained, according to the media, the gigantic caravans of migrants that from 2017 began to travel thousands of kilometres to reach the United States
Greatest jockeys; Fortza Paris by Marco Cheli

EuropeFeaturedStoryGreatest jockeys; Fortza Paris by Marco Cheli

Fortza Paris; Marco Cheli’s project was selected and published in our print edition 16. Over the years, until today there are many young Sardinians, specifically from Barbagia, who leave their island with the dream of becoming a jockey of the Palio di Siena.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/getty-images.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/black-eye.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Edelman-Gallery.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Medium.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Opiom.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Filter-Photo.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/head-on.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Photo-independent.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/lagos-photo.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/gtb.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/IPA.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/in-focus.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/image-rights.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/riga.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/BGD.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/ICP.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Mifa.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/miami.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/viewbug.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/OFF.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/KLPA.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/rotterdam.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Photo-Nola.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/clampart.png
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/dripbook.png
OTHER STORIES
X
stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Issue #14 | September 2020
Current Issue
Vicky Martin
Ryotaro Horiuchi
Susanne Mildeelberg
Diego Bardone
Nicky Hamilton
Alain Schroeder
Printed on 80# matte paper 22x28cm | 100 Pages
Showroom
September 7 to October 31, 2020
Julia Fullerton-Batten
LOOKING OUT FROM WITHIN
Get in touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the form, or contact hello@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Dodho Magazine is pleased to announce the new call for the photographers selection from all over the world that will be presented in an exceptional edition.
Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2020
Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
Dodho Magazine is pleased to announce the new call for the photographers selection from all over the world that will be presented in an exceptional edition.
Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2020
Photo by ©Ryotaro Horiuchi | Japan | Issue#14
CALL
FOR ENTRIES
Dodho Magazine is pleased to announce the new call for the photographers selection from all over the world that will be presented in an exceptional edition.
Are you ready?
Deadline: Monday, November 30, 2020
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
NEW!
FOLLOW US.
Subscribe now and get a free access to a curated list of resources.
Feel free to contact.
2017 (C) All rights reserved.
ghfd