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Yousef Karsh, a portrait photographer, gained international fame when he photographed Winston Churchill in December of 1941. Karsh recalled Churchill marching into the room scowling and regarding the cameras "as he might regard the German enemy." When Karsh removed Churchill's cigar, the scowl deepened and he thrust his head forward belligerently. The image captured Churchill and the Britain of the time perfectly-defiant and unconquerable, and went on to become one of the most frequently reproduced photographic portraits in history.
Over six decades, Karsh photographed famous, powerful, and influential people, including Marian Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, Fidel Castro, Albert Einstein, Dwight Eisenhower, Robert Frost, Carl Jung, Helen Keller, Pablo Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many others. In this definitive biography, Karsh speaks of his work ethic and philosophy. It provides a glimpse into his interaction with famed composer Leonard Bernstein before capturing the maestro's image.
According to Karsh, "Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize." This exploration of Karsh's compassion, integrity, and vision illuminates the reasons behind his portraits' universal and enduring appeal.
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