Sunday, December 8, 2013

Beautiful Black and White Portraits of Famous People by Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh (1908 – 2002) was an Armenian-Canadian portrait photographer. During a career that spanned six decades, he created iconic portraits of many of the 20th century’s most influential men and women—individuals who distinguished themselves in fields as diverse as business, medicine, entertainment, politics, and the arts.

Karsh was a master of studio lights. One of Karsh's distinctive practices was lighting the subject's hands separately. He photographed many of the great and celebrated personalities of his generation. Throughout most of his career he used the 8×10 bellows Calumet (1997.0319) camera, made circa 1940 in Chicago.

Karsh had a gift for capturing the essence of his subject in the instant of his portrait. As Karsh wrote of his own work in Karsh Portfolio in 1967, "Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can. The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize."

Below is a selection of 20 beautiful black and white portrait photographs of famous people taken by Yousuf Karsh.

Winston Churchill

Fidel Castro

Jean Sibelius

George Bernard Shaw

Pablo Picasso

Jacques Couseteau

John F. Kennedy

Albert Einstein

Walt Disney

Andy Warhol

Charles de Gaulle

Albert Camus

Ernest Hemingway

Elizabeth Taylor

Muhammad Ali

Audrey Hepburn

Gérard Depardieu

Marcel Marceau

Grace Kelly

Alfred Hitchcock

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