Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba, Canada, 2010
If you were anybody in the 20th century, eventually you were photographed by Yousuf Karsh. Armenian in background, Karsh fled ethnic turmoil in Turkey by immigrating to Canada in 1925. He eventually settled in Ottawa in the early 1930s, where he established a photographic portrait studio. Karsh went on to achieve world renown for the way he interplayed lights and darks in creating iconic character studies of Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Pierre Trudeau, and Audrey Hepburn, to name only a few. This exhibition, celebrating the centenary of Karsh’s birth, publicly brings together for the first time 100 silver gelatin prints, favourites from his personal collection. The show provides a critical re-evaluation of Karsh’s artistic development and explores his optimistic notion of genuine heroism and his admiration for individuals of high achievement. While styles in portraiture changed after World War II, Karsh’s images continue to profoundly impact how significant historical figures are understood and remembered today.
This exhibition has been organized by The Art Institute of Chicago and curated by David Travis, former Chair and Curator of Photography, The Art Institute of Chicago.