Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century


The International Center of Photography in New York is one of the world’s most prestigious institutions dedicated to photography and visual culture. The Master of Photography Award is its highest award. Yousuf Karsh was the recipient in 1990. He was preceded by fellow colleagues and often friends such as André Kertész, Hiroshi Hamaya, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Alfred Eisenstaedt, and Berenice Abbott. He was followed by honorees including Harry Callahan, Lennart Nilsson, Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Horst P. Horst, Helen Levitt, Roy DeCarava, Arnold Newman, Robert Frank, and Roger Therond.

In 2000, “International Who’s Who” chose Karsh as one of the 100 most influential figures of the twentieth century. He was the only photographer and the only Canadian among the selected distinguished group of men and women. From this group, Karsh had photographed more than half.

The Order of Canada is the nation’s greatest honor. There are three levels of distinction: Member, Officer, and Companion. Companion is the highest honor and it is limited to 165 living individuals. Having already been an Officer, Yousuf Karsh was elevated to Companion of the Order of Canada in 1990.

Canadian citizenship, as a status separate from British nationality, was created by the Canadian Citizenship Act, 1946, which came into effect on January 1st, 1947. Canadians were chosen to represent the country and Yousuf Karsh was given the honor of representing the Province of Ontario. When this group was sworn in on January 3rd, 1947, all Canadians enjoyed citizenship in their own country for the first time.

Jerusalem Prize for Arts and Letters

Bezalel Academy, 1997

Presented to the Combined Houses of the Canadian Parliament by the Speaker of the House of Commons

Canadian Parliament, 1995

Gold Medal of Merit

National Society of Arts and Letters, USA, 1991

Companion of the Order of Canada

Canada, 1990

Master of Photography Award

International Center of Photography, NYC, 1990

Medal of Merit

Lotos Club, New York, 1989

Gold Medal for furthering Canadian-American Understanding

Americas Society, 1989

Creative Edge Award

New York University and TIME, Inc., 1989

Doctor of Humane Letters

Yeshiva University, New York City, 1989

Doctor of Fine Arts

Syracuse University, 1986

Silver Shingle

Boston University School of Law, 1983

Doctor of Fine Arts

Tufts University, 1981

Achievement of Life Award

Encyclopedia Britannica, 1980

Doctor of Fine Arts

University of Hartford, 1980

President’s Cabinet Award

University of Detroit, 1979

Doctor of Fine Arts

University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1979

Medal of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1975

Bachelor of Professional Arts

Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, 1973

Master of Photographic Arts

Professional Photographers of Canada, 1970

Doctor of Civil Law

Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec, 1969

Canada Council Medal

Canada Council, 1969

Medal of Service of the Order of Canada and the Centennial Medal

Canada, 1968

Doctor of Humane Letters

Emerson College, Boston,

Doctor of Law

Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario,

Doctor of Law

Carleton University, Ottawa,

Doctor of Humane Letters

Dartmouth College, New Hampshire,

Doctor of Humane Letters

Ohio University,

Doctor of Humane Letters

Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick ,

Honorary Degree

Dawson College, Montreal,


The Photographic Arts and Sciences Foundation, USA,

Honorary Fellow

The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain,