LONDON (Guardian) — An exhibition of works by Armenian-Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh has opened in London and will run through October 22.
Karsh’s camera captured everyone from Albert Einstein to Martin Luther King as well as some of the century’s greatest artists, musicians and actors during his career.
Karsh escaped genocide to move to Quebec and become one of the most celebrated portrait photographers of the 20th century.
According to the source, in 1921, Karsh’s family escaped the Armenian Genocide into Syria, with a single donkey being their only real wealth. Karsh’s uncle, who lived in Quebec, wrote to the family to ask for help in his photography studio – the 16-year-old Yousuf embarked on a 29-day trip to get there.
His apprenticeship led to Karsh training in portrait photography in Boston, studying old masters painters and their approach to light and perspective. He moved to Ottawa, and began photographing visiting dignitaries. His breakthrough came with a portrait of Winston Churchill that ended up on the cover of Time magazine. Another photograph from the same session with Churchill graces the UK’s new £5 banknote.
Karsh would go on to photograph the most famous people in the world, and among other accolades, has a crater on Mercury named after him.