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Yousuf Karsh, one of the great portrait photographers. This LibGuide was created to accompany the Visions & Voices events at the USC Fisher Museum of Art : Yousuf Karsh: Festival of Film and Music.
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2011 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

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My father started me on photography when I was eight.  Years later as a student in Tokyo in 1970, I saw an exhibition by Karsh of Ottawa. 

The portraits were about three by four feet in size!  Larger than life.  With no glass plates covering them, there was no annoying reflective glare from lights.  The detail and clarity of the rich, deep blacks, whites and gray tones were amazing  --  they jumped out at you.  The perfect moments captured in those photographs held me enthralled.  Fresh from months at Europe's finest museums poring over paintings by great masters, I stood before those huge Karsh portraits, mesmerized.  Rightly or wrongly, I likened Karsh to the Chiaroscuro masters. 

Years later, I became a newspaper, wedding, and sometime portrait photographer  --  never in the same league as Karsh.


Visions & Voices events:  Yousuf Karsh: Festival of Film and Music.

  • Yousuf Karsh: Hero of a thousand Faces through Words and Music
    Thursday, September 30, 2010
    With pianist Victoria Kirsch, mezzo-soprano Cynthia Jansen, and bass-baritone Cedric Berry, to celebrate the lives of Karsh's portrait subjects. A reception will follow.
  • The Afterglow: A Tribute to Robert Frost
    Thursday, October 7, 2010
    The documentary combines stunning visuals and literary criticism, breathing new life into Karsh’s portrait of Frost. Following the screening, USC English professor Mark Irwin will present a discussion and poetry reading. A reception will follow.
  • Karsh is History: Yousuf Karsh and Portrait Photography
    Thursday, November 4, 2010
    Documentary screening, accompanied by a discussion with USC photography professor Robbert Flick, with a reception to follow.

    An additional event at Fisher Museum:
  • Turning Paintings Into Poems: How Poets Look at Art
    Thursday, October 28, 2010
    A talk and reading by poet and arts writer Tom Healy. He will explore the history of the relationship between poetry and the arts, and how poets are responding to contemporary art today. Introduced by California Poet Laureate, USC Professor Carol Muske-Dukes.


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