Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Karsh, Leonard, and Bagert: A Photographic Legacy

The Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, Florida, 2008

'Starting Saturday, May 24, Polk Museum of Art will be hosting an exhibition of photographs by three "generations" of artists. Karsh, Leonard, and Bagert: A Photographic Legacy will demonstrate the way photographic traditions are passed down from mentor to student.

"A couple of years ago, we exhibited some important photographs by Herman Leonard that documented the jazz era," said Daniel E. Stetson, Executive Director of Polk Museum of Art. "Through the generosity and active participation of one of our long-time patrons, we are able to bring the works of both Leonard's teacher and his student to our community."

Yousuf Karsh is recognized as one of the pioneers of 20th Century portrait photography. He is perhaps best well known for his iconic photograph of a scowling Winston Churchill, but some of his other subjects include luminaries such as Albert Einstein and Ernest Hemingway.

Karsh's protege, Herman Leonard, is internationally known for his photographs of jazz legends like Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and Frank Sinatra. His first internship after college was working with Karsh, learning Karsh's ability to translate his subject's character into print, his theatrical use of light, and his commitment to perfect print quality.

Leonard's protege, Jenny Bagert, also owes her use of light and her interpretation of her subjects' character to her mentor, but she has achieved her own unique vision as well. Her work, dated from the last 10 years, demonstrates the continuation and future of the great tradition of straight, black and white photography established by Karsh and Leonard.'

Polk Museum of Art