Yousuf Karsh

By: Salena Fragale

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  • Yousuf was born in Mardin, Armenia on December 23,1908- July 13,2002. (93 years old)
  • Karsh spoke little French and little English.
  • His father couldn't read nor write, but had exquisite taste. He traveled to lands to sell and buy different things. Karsh mothers was well educated which was very rare in the mid 20s. He was the oldest out of the three of his siblings which was his brothers who were Malak, Jamil, and Salim.
  • In 1922, Karsh family was allowed to flee. They had to leave there doors open. They didn't take anything but their-selves and had to flee on feet.
  • After two days, Karsh parents lost everything they had saved.
  • Karshs father tried to rebuild their life but then sent Karsh to live with his uncle.
  • His family sent him to Nova Scotia in 1924 to live with his uncle.
  • Karsh uncle Nakash was a photographer of established reputation still was a bachelor when Karsh moved in with him and Uncle Nakash was a generous man.
  • Uncle Nakash sent Karsh to Sherkbrooke High School where he met his first friend.
  • Karsh wanted to be a doctor when he was older but after his ending of High school, the warmth of his reception made him love his adopted land.
  • In the summer of 1926, Karsh worked for his uncle at his studio, burying his original desire to study medicine. At first, he did not realize that everything connected with the art of photography captivated his interest and energy.
  • His uncle bought him a small camera and Karsh roamed around the woods and took photos.
  • This camera help Karsh first photographic success. Karsh entered a contest and won first prize.
  • He moved later to Boston where he was apprenticed to the portrait photographer, John H. Garo.
  • He opened his own studio in Ottawa in 1932.
  • He developed such an outstanding photographer and persuaded Winston Churchill to sit for him. One of these photos appeared on the front of the magazine and helped Karsh known to the public for the rest of the world.
  • "Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera." -Yousuf Karsh


  • "If it's a likeness, alone, it's not a success. If, through my portraits, you can come to know the subjects more meaningfully, if it synthesizes your feelings toward someone whose work has imprinted itself on your mind--if you see a photograph and say, 'Yes, this is the person,' with a little new insight--that is a beautiful experience" -Yousuf Karsh
  • One of the things I found interesting about Karsh is even through struggle he still managed to chase his dream. His pictures tell some type of story in many of ways.