0121 – Photo 27 Humanos – Churchill

Yousuf Karsh’s Masterful Portraits

I shoot a lot of portraits, and I always look to the masters of portraiture for inspiration. Near the top of that list of masters—maybe even right on top—is Yousef Karsh. Not only is Karsh’s portfolio filled with iconic portraits, but the legend of the man has taken on iconic status on its own. Most likely you’ve heard of the famous story about how Karsh was able to make one of the most iconic portraits of all time, an image of Winston Churchill. As the story goes, Karsh was given just a couple of minutes to photograph the British Prime Minister in December of 1941. Churchill was in no mood to be photographed, and he was chewing on a cigar. When Karsh was ready, he delicately removed the cigar from Churchill’s mouth (though he did not snatch it away, as is so often reported) and by the time he returned to the camera, the prime minister’s perfectly nonplussed expression was there. Thus, one of the most reprinted portraits of all time was made. Read about the creation of the picture (and see an outtake from the session) via the first link below, then use the second link to visit the Life section of Time.com. (Life magazine, by the way, first published the Churchill portrait as the cover of the magazine at the end of World War II.) At Time.com, read all about the master photographer and his iconic career.



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