Yousuf Karsh was born in Mardin,
Turkey. At age 14,the Karsh family fled to the safety of Syria
to escape the Armenian genocide. Two years later, Yousuf was sent
to live with his uncle George Nakash, a photographer
in Quebec, Canada. Karsh attended school there briefly and assisted in his uncle’s studio.
was a master in the use of studio lights. One of
Karsh's distinctive eye was to light the
subject's hands separately. He photographed many
presidents, royal families and celebrities of his
Sunday Times quoted... "when the famous start thinking of
immortality, they call for Karsh of Ottawa."
Karsh had a gift for capturing the essence of his
subject in his portraits. As Karsh wrote
of his own work in 1967... "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, 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."