September 25, 2013
One of my esteemed clients, “The Westerleigh Retirement Residence” in West Vancouver had a Yousuf Karsh display in their 2nd floor… Ohhh, my heart beats thinking of Yousuf Karsh’s work. Their collection made my soul smile and it encouraged me. Thank you “Westerleigh”.
Today, I am going to discuss his work from my own perception. A Headshots photographer to a Portrait photographer.
What is the difference between Karsh ( Portraits ) and myself ( Headshots ), you may ask? Karsh photographed celebrities, politicians and just about anyone who marked the world during his lifetime for editorials. I photograph the average, the elite, the one’s chasing a dream, retiring, wanting to do something great for branding themselves in modern media. My portraits are selected by those being photographed to reveal themselves, Karsh selected their portraits to evoke an emotional response in editorials.
Often people speak of the photographers eyes, his or her ability to create… We portrait photographers ( headshots artist ), do not create. Karsh did not invent anything. It was all there, right in front of him. Winston Churchill was already a Prime Minister in 1941, fighting Germany before he was photographed by Karsh, Humprey Bogart in 1946 was already the star of Casa Blanca.
Critics often speak of lighting and will refer to the person being photographed as a subject matter… Karsh did not photograph subjects or objects he captured people and their life force.
Was Yousuf Karsh a genius? Portrait photographer’s intelligence are far different than the intelligence of a scientist, a writer or even an artist. His intelligence was the ability for listening, love and appreciation for those being captured in such a degree that the invisible shield had been released, allowing the invisible made visible. He had a passion for people and was a survivor of horrific events and became better by it. It was his emotional intelligence that made him a genius, camera and lighting were tools to enhance his interactions.
“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 the photographer must act or lose his prize”. Yousuf Karsh
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