Yousuf Karsh

A Famous Photographer


Yousuf Karsh was born December 23, 1908 in Mardin, Turkey. In 1924 he moved to Canada with his uncle who was a photographer. He learned art and the science of photography from his uncle, and then got an apprenticeship with a painter and photographer from Boston. While an apprentice, he also took classes at an art school. He thrived as a photographer; he was so successful that he took portraits of some of America's and the world's most famous people. He died July 13, 2002 in Boston, MA, he was 93.

Karsh's style in photography is one, not having the subject look directly at the camera. Second, the background is usually dark, but the subject's face is illuminated by a light, evoking a theatrical sense.

What made Karsh famous was the subjects of his work: relatively very famous people. Marilyn Monroe and President Ronald Reagan are just two of the renowned people he was able to encrypt in a photograph.

Karsh's Work


"Through my photography I have not only become acquainted with some of the most celebrated personalities of our era but have had the opportunity to visit fascinating parts of the world I might not otherwise have known." - Yousuf Karsh

"I try to photograph people's spirits and thoughts. As to the soul-taking by the photographer, I don't feel I take away, but rather that the sitter and I give to each other. It becomes an act of mutual participation. - Yousuf Karsh

"Karsh, you have immortalised me," - Lord Beaverbrook


Karsh's website shows that he has received a total of 31 awards throughout his career. They are, but not limited to, Master of Photography Award, Jerusalem Prize for Arts and Letters, Creative Edge Award, Medal of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and a

Bachelor of Professional Arts. All of these award were given to Karsh because of his work in the arts.

My Opinion On His Work

I personally love how Karsh does portraits.

No eye contact creates an aspect of mystery or secrecy, which is intensified by a dark background. The illumination of their face, however, evokes a feeling of being able to trust them, and believe in them. It makes them look iconic.


Yousuf Karsh. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from

Yousuf Karsh / Photographer. (n.d.). Retrieved May 03, 2016, from

Yousuf Karsh. (2002, July 15). Retrieved May 03, 2016, from