Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede week cowboy band. “Karsh Visits Calgary: the Palliser Hotel is a scene of lively parties during Stampede week.”

The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition, and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In 1953 Karsh set off to investigate on assignment for Canada’s Maclean’s magazine. This image is one of several that ran in a spread about “the legend a stampede built” and thrillingly the magazine’s archive is available online.

Maclean’s, January 1, 1954: “In Calgary’s one zany week of celebration even the neon signs seem to go crazy. But even wild horses couldn’t keep Yousuf Karsh out of the Stampede corral during the roping display shown in the photograph at the right. Here unbroken horses off the range are sent plummeting into the infield where three-man teams try to rope, halter and ride them. For the rest of the week Karsh roamed through street dances and Palliser Hotel parties, photographing Calgarians who were sometimes as wild as their own horses. But prettier.”

Maclean’s is still publishing; the Calgary Stampede is scheduled for July 2021; and the Palliser Hotel still exists as “one of the City of Calgary’s oldest and one of the most luxurious hotels.”

Calgary Stampede, 1953