Karsh Portraits, Yousuf Karsh, front cover, Ernest Hemingway, Jacques Cousteau

‘Karsh Portraits’ by Yousuf Karsh – Book Review

Karsh Portraits, Yousuf Karsh, front cover, Ernest Hemingway, Jacques CousteauFor aficionados of Karsh’s portraits, ‘Karsh Portraits‘ by Yousuf Karsh is the must own volume.

We have also reviewed ‘Karsh, A Fifty Year Retrospective‘, which is far more biographical, click here to see review.  If you wish to know more about Karsh’s life, ‘Karsh, A Fifty Year Retrospective‘ is the volume to buy.

To know more about Karsh’s style and to see better representation of his best work, ‘Karsh Portraits‘ is just the ticket.

Briefly, Karsh made a name for himself by photographing the iconic image we all recognize Winston Churchill by, early in WW II.

From this photographic triumph, Karsh went on to photograph many of the big shots among the Allies during WW II and in the 50’s and 60’s photographed the “Who’s Who” of the mid 20th century.

In the early latter part of the last century, a portrait of oneself by Yousuf Karsh was itself a kind of hallmark and trappings of success.

The GlamourPhotography.co review of   ‘Karsh, A Fifty Year Retrospective‘ has more about Karsh’s life.  To view the review, click here.

Karsh Portraits‘ is a selection of 48 prominent subjects in 48 gravure illustrations.

Fidel Castro, Vladimir Nabokov, Karsh Portraits, Rear CoverThe volume is 12″x10″x1.25″ in size, 204 pages  with a Hardcover binding.  All illustrations are black and white.

Black and white is how most of us know Karsh’s work.  In my opinion, his best work is indeed in black and white and ‘Karsh Portraits‘ is representative of his best works.

In ‘Karsh Portraits,’ Karsh shares with us, for each portrait, personal details about the personality of each subject.

There is only one image of each subject, often the portrait is the iconic image we recognize as having characterized this subject in our photo impressionable minds.

The photo of Albert Einstein?   It’s the one you know as Albert Einstein’s portrait.  It is like this for portrait after portrait.  It’s part Karsh’s magic.  To take portraits full of character or people of character, which portraits then become to the viewers, the very public and permanent impression of the persona portrayed.  Such is the power of Karsh’s captures.

Albert Einstein, Portrait, Karsh, Black and White
Albert Einstein - Notice Karsh's treatment of hands

How does Karsh create such lasting impressions?

The lighting of Karsh is a hard lighting full of textures, dripping with character and is appropriate for those people confident in the power of their character.

‘Karsh Portraits’ is probably the volume to study if one wishes to study Karsh’s light, to learn about his style and about something personal about his subjects.

He took time, hours or days, with most subjects.

He took time to get to know and get familiar and comfortable with his subjects.  Then with this comfort, captured something personal and lasting about these movers and shakers.

Where many photographers work to hide or down play the effects of hands in portraits, Karsh often deliberately includes hands in his portraits.

Karsh’s treatment and lighting of hands speaks in harmonious concert with the over all themes and character of the subject being portrayed.

If you like portraits, historical vignettes, or just enjoy studying light, particularly its potential to portray character in portraits,  ‘Karsh Portraits‘ is an inexpensive used volume suitable to this purpose.

To find a new or used copy of ‘Karsh Portraits‘ on Amazon, click here.

For a listing of Books Reviewed on GlamourPhotography.co, click here.


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