Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Pierre Elliot Trudeau, 1968

“When I photographed Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, soon after he took office in 1968, the voters already had found him compelling and charismatic but not yet controversial. The discovery of his many-faceted nature was to come later – a partial discovery, I suspect, because the Canadian people may never fully understand him. Before our photographic session at his official Ottawa residence, 24 Sussex Drive, we lingered and talked over dessert and coffee. The new head of government was very relaxed, very natural and, above all, candid. Seldom had I met a politician who spoke so freely, yet he weighed his words as they pertained to national affairs. He also had a lively sense of humour, an ironic wit, a sharp memory for persons and events. If he speaks directly to you, the force, as well as the charm, of his personality helps to explain his place in current politics.

Trudeau was born on this day, October 18, 1919 (d. 2000).