Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Francois Mauriac

Francois Mauriac, 1949

Francois Mauriac was born on this day, October 11, in 1885. He was a French novelist, dramatist, critic, poet, and journalist, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1952.

When Karsh photographed him in 1949 he encountered a problem.

“Paris was without electric power when I photographed the eminent Catholic writer. My assistant and I had valiantly climbed five endless Parisian flights of stairs with heavy equipment, in the vain hope that electricity would soon be restored. It was late in the afternoon and we would not soon have the opportunity to meet again. So, using a bed sheet borrowed from his housekeeper as a reflector, I caught his aristocratic silhouette in the available light of an open French window.”

Mauriac would be photographed in Paris a second time, in 1965.