Jonathan Buonafede


Yousuf Karsh was a man born in Mardin, Armenia, on December 23, 1908. He came to the US at the age of seventeen. Yousuf went on to become a world renowned photographer with exhibits around the world. Yousef’s early work was a collection of scenes and scenery in his experimenting stages. Commonly against a deep toned background. His manipulation of light brings out many layers in the image. Often he uses positive and negative values of light to frame specific points on his image whether it is light highlighting the silhouette of a woman, or a dark background giving depth to a well-lit piece of cloth dangling from a man’s shoulders.

Well working in a Canadian studio Yousuf took pictures of the people and scenery around him to capture Canada in its post war industrial development period. His work became very interesting and saw both ends of the spectrum, with the dark and dirty surroundings of steel and motor industries to the bright light soaked images of fishermen returned to port. However, all these images tell intriguing stories of Yousef’s time spent in Canada. And capture the viewers’ attention.

Finally my favorite work of Yousuf, his portraits. Maybe some of Yousuf Karsh’s most well know works are his portraits of people throughout time. His portraits are captivating. Commonly with very dark backgrounds that draw forward the features in each participants face, the images are dramatically lit at angles to capture the contours of the face and give the images a strong presence. HE has taken such portraits as those of, Albert Einstein, Dwight Eisenhower, Audrey Hepburn, Muhammad Ali, Pablo Picasso, Winston Churchill, and many more. Yousef’s, images were meant to capture the actually look of the people he photographed. In his biography he says,

“The mask we present to others and, too often, to ourselves may lift for only a second—to reveal that power in an unconscious gesture, a raised brow, a surprised response, a moment of repose. This is the moment to record.” ( , Paragraph 40)

I find these words inspiring and true in every one of his portraits. The stories behind these peoples masks are only there for a moment and Yousuf Karsh was an expert at capturing it.

Work cited

“Yousuf Karsh.” 70 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.

“A Brief Biography.” Yousuf Karsh. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.



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