Yousuf Karsh "Winston Churchill" 1941
[Celebrating The Negative]
1941 (original image) 2008 (publication)
Gelatin silver print
National Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
Hands: Yousuf Karsh, 2.16.94
"When I am with a camera, I feel I am the most important person in the world," says Yousuf Karsh, describing his first encounter with Winston Churchill, on December 30, 1941.
Leaving the floor after addressing Canada's Parliament, Churchill was surprised to find Karsh in the Speaker's Chamber, prepared to take his portrait.
The photographer stepped up to remove a freshly lighted cigar from Churchill's lips. "It was an act of reverence, as I would shoo a fly off a person's coat before I photographed him. By the time I was back at my camera he was looking as belligerently at me as if he could have devoured me," wrote Karsh, who took the picture anyhow. He adds, "I was very happy with myself when I left the building. I knew I had it."
Karsh crops out Churchill's elbow in prints as well as most of the chair and the upper part of the wall. As a result, he says he's never noticed the three odd-looking black lines that appear on the negative, high above Churchill's head and to the left.
This photograph is included in the portfolio Celebrating the Negative photographs by published by John Loengard, Etherton Gallery (2008), pl. 13
All photographs copyright ® John Loengard. Gelatin silver prints printed by Chuck Kelton, Kelton Labs, New York City, under the direct supervision of John Loengard. Printed on Ilford Multigrade Warm Glossy paper. Design and portfolio box construction by Jace Graf, Cloverleaf Studio, Austin, Texas.
Celebrating The Negative/Photographs by John Loengard was published by Etherton Gallery, Tucson, Arizona, in March, 2008, in an edition of eighteen portfolios, including fifteen numbered copies and three artist's proofs.