Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) is one of the masters of twentieth century photography. His body of work includes portraits of statesmen, artists, musicians, authors, scientists, and men and women of accomplishment. His extraordinary and unique portfolio presents the viewer with an intimate and compassionate view of humanity.
The Estate administer the rights in the famous Karsh portraits of Winston Churchill, one of which is being used as the basis for the Churchill 2015 logo.
Karsh is the photographer responsible for Churchill’s most famous portrait and arguably one of the world’s most recognizable and shared images. Taken in 1941 on a visit to Canada, the Nazi government in France had just sworn to wring the neck of Britain like a chicken; this image showed Britain’s leader obstinate and determined in the face of opposition. The story behind the photograph has become almost as famous as the image itself; Churchill refused to remove his cigar from his mouth in order to have his photo taken, despite Karsh asking him to do so. Karsh leaned over the camera and took the cigar from Churchill’s lips – Churchill’s famous scowl is the result of having it taken away from him. Karsh would say later that ‘He looked so belligerent, he could have devoured me’.
The portrait later came to represent a symbol of the British Prime Minister’s defiance in the face of the enemy; it graced the cover of Life magazine and launched Karsh’s international career. Other famous Karsh portraits include Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy.