Lesson 2 Yousuf Karsh

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    “There is a brief moment when all there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record.”

    That is a quote from Yousuf Karsh, the photographer I find most interesting. He specialized in portraits of politicians and celebrities while living in Canada and gained international fame in 1941 with his photo of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. This Particular work is one of the most amazing portraits I’ve seen to date, not because of who it is, but how it was taken. It is said that Yousuf was frustrated with the fact that Churchill would not remove his cigar from his mouth as he posed for the photo. Yousuf decided to yank the cigar out of his mouth and snap the picture as he did.I believe that story. You can almost feel Winston Churchill’s thundering presence in this portrait.

    That is what photography is all about in my opinion. Not taking a picture of somebody or something, but actually capturing a moment in time. Every photo should tell a story. It should show who or what the subject truly is and why. The idea that I can put things into a particular perspective and show an endless number of different ideas, stories, lives, or emotions is what draws me to photography. A piece of the photographer should be left behind in every picture, just as a musician pours his heart and soul into every song and lyric.

    “Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.”
    -Yousuf Karsh

    Just for kicks I’ve decided to post the photo I referred to in this essay….

    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hi there,

    Thanks for submitting your second assignment.

    I really enjoyed your piece, however brief.

    It’s rare to see such a concise and effective piece that explains exactly what someone thinks about a certain photographer.

    I trust that this assignment has refined your thinking about photography ever so slightly.

    You seem to show an interest in portraits and moments.

    I would focus on that if I was you.

    It often takes people a long time to determine they have an interest in one particular area of photography. It seems you already have it narrowed down so run with that.

    Shoot awesome portraits and put yourself in a position to capture magical moments.

    Sometimes all it takes is showing up. Showing up and mastering some of the technical aspects of photography. Sometimes all it takes is two minutes with a world leader like Winston Churchill!

    Thank you for reminding me of Yusuf who spent a great deal of time in Ottawa, the city I grew up in.

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