Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Yosouf Karsch: 1908-2002


Yousuf Karsh, known for his dramatically lit portraits of the 20th century’s most influential people, died at 93 on July 13 in Boston from complications following surgery. In his 60-year career, Karsh’s subjects included 15,000 celebrities from around the globe, including political and military leaders, writers, artists and entertainers. His camera often produced the defining portraits of such people as Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Karsh was born of Armenian parents in Turkey on Dec. 23, 1908. In 1924, his parents sent him to live with an uncle in Nova Scotia, Canada, to escape political unrest. That uncle, George Nakash, worked as a studio portrait photographer in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Studying under him, Karsh learned the art of photography.

After a three-year apprenticeship in Boston, Karsh returned to Canada in 1932, opening his own portrait studio in Ottawa. During World War II, on assignments from the Canadian government and Life magazine, he photographed American and British war leaders. Many of those portraits were collected in his first book, “Faces of Destiny,” published in 1946.