Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) was an Armenian-Canadian born photographer who specialized in portrait shots. His early shots were a mix of landscape, portraits, and some surrealist/optic shots. For most of his career, Karsh used an 8×10 bellows Calumet (1997.0319) camera to capture his (mostly) black and white photographs. A true master of lighting, Karsh captured his subjects in their natural state. His photographs depict, in themselves, the life of the person.
Take, for instance, this photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1962:
Karsh truly captured the essence of Dr. King and his aspirations with this photograph. The lighting from the right of the frame and slightly above him gives the aura that he’s looking towards a higher purpose and contemplating on it. A year later, King would deliver his “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Karsh captured history before it…
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