I went to the Canada Science and Technology Museum to see one of the moon rocks from Apollo 17, which is now on display. What I did not anticipate was the Festival Karsh exhibition that had just opened at the museum. Yousuf Karsh opened his photography studio in Ottawa in the 1930’s.
This was a very inspirational exhibit of the artist, his works, and how he created his famous portraits. They had some of his cameras, some of his studio equipment, booking calenders, letters to and from the artist, diary notes from the studio and many examples of his work.
One portrait that caught my eye in particular was his photo of then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan (sample on the right). The lighting, the pose, the focus are all so perfect. Interestingly, there were both B/W as well as colour versions of this portrait. I was able to spend a long time look at many of his works in the exhibit, figuring out what lighting he used, what was the point of focus (always the eyes), how the shot was created. It was a real inspiration.
I immediately wanted to start imitating his style. The second half of this year, I shall work harder to improve my own abilities with the camera. I feel I have learned how to use the tools (my Canon 40D), and now I should work on the art of photography.
Other samples of his work, as part of the Festival Karsh events, can be found on at http://www.flickr.com/photos/festivalkarsh/.