Yousuf Karsh was born in Armenia on 23rd December 1908. His family sent him to Nova Scotia in 1924 to live with his uncle. Later Karsh moved to Boston where he was apprenticed to the portrait photographer, John H. Garo.
Karsh opened his own studio in Ottawa in 1932. He developed a reputation as an outstanding photographer and in 1941 persuaded Winston Churchill to sit for him. One of these photographs appeared on the front cover of Life Magazine and helped to make him known to the public in the rest of the world.
Other famous people asked him to photograph him. This included Franklin D. Roosevelt, Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Hemingway, Charles De Gaulle, André Malraux, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein and Nikita Khrushchev. His book, Faces of Destiny, appeared in 1946.
Karsh held his first one-man show at the National Gallery of Canada in 1959. An exhibition, Men Who Make our World, toured North America, Europe and Australia in 1967. He also had exhibitions in Montreal (1967) and New York (1983).
Books by Karsh include Faces of Our Time (1972), Karsh Portraits (1976), Karsh Canadians (1979), Karsh: A Fifty-Year Retrospective (1983), Karsh (1989) and Yousuf Karsh (2001). Yousuf Karsh died on 13th July 2002.