Foto Week DC starts tomorrow and it looks like there’s plenty to do for people in attendance (here).


This screening (here) of a movie on Yousuf Karsh caught my eye because I’m a huge fan.

Film Screening – Yousuf Karsh and Portrait Photography
DATE: 11/10/2009 – 11/10/2009
WHEN: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
WHERE: Embassy of Canada

501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

To be “Karshed” was a synonym for having attained the summit of worldy achievement. During his 60 year career, the 15,312 sittings he had, resulted in arguably a portrait gallery of the most famous figures of the 20th century. This film is the celebration of his centennial year of birth.

Produced by Ian McLaren / Production Grand Nord
Written by Harold Crooks and Joseph Hillel
Directed by Joseph Hillel

2009 / 51:30 min.
COST: Free

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  1. Very little humanity on view here. Karsh succeeded in turning all his subjects into stiff wax museum figures.

    • @k4kafka,

      I think that comes with his process. Hot lights, slow film, large format/sdof. Maybe Karsh wanted to control these powerful people, these leaders, have them obey him?

      I don’t know. Personally I have never been a fan but I found the trailer interesting and would like to see this film.

  2. Great snippet on a great eye and talent, love the aesthetics of using black and white. I have know a little about Karsh from when I started out. The photos of Eisenhower and Kennedy intrigued me when I was research a paper for school. Loved the contrast, the power in the images.

  3. It is interesting how focus can be changed, I caught myself not even acknowledging the finalist for Fotoweek DC. Nice! Congrats to the winners.

  4. Karsh created photographs his sitters loved. Churchill in a moment of determination and power, and with every nuanced look he brought out the inner character of the people who sat before his lens.

    He may have been the Greatest Portrait photographer of the 20th Century.

    There is no doubt in the sheer volume of the important figures that craved the attention a Karsh Portrait gave them. They all knew, at that moment in time, he would record them for History. His brilliance became a reflection of their own genius. Having Karsh do a portrait meant that you had achieved a certain level of importance and greatness, maybe even vanity. For Canada he is a National Treasure, and for the rest of us mere mortal photographers he is a virtuoso with a view camera.

  5. I laugh whenever a photographer (including myself) believes they have created something “original” and then we realize Karsh was “doing it” over 50 years ago. In my opinion…the best portrait photographer to date!

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