Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) is one of the masters of 20th century photography. His body of work includes portraits of statesmen, artists, musicians, authors, scientists, and men and women of accomplishment. His extraordinary and unique portfolio presents the viewer with an intimate and compassionate view of humanity.
“My chief joy is to photograph the great in heart, in mind, and in spirit, whether they be famous or humble.”
The Roaring Lion
Yousuf Karsh’s most famous work is the portrait of the British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Churchill marched into the room scowling, “regarding my camera as he might regard the German enemy.” His expression suited Karsh perfectly, but the cigar stuck between his teeth seemed incompatible with such a solemn and formal occasion. “Instinctively, I removed the cigar. At this the Churchillian scowl deepened, the head was thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed on the hip in an attitude of anger.”
The image captured Churchill and the Britain of the time perfectly — defiant and unconquerable. Churchill later said to him, “You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed.” As such, Karsh titled the photograph, The Roaring Lion.
However, Karsh’s favourite photograph was the one taken immediately after this one where Churchill’s mood had lightened considerably and is shown much in the same pose, but smiling. It was announced on 26 April 2013 by the Bank of England that the more well-known image would be used on the new £5 note, to be issued in 2016.
優素福•卡什的成名作,就是在1941年二戰初期拍攝的英國戰時首相邱 吉爾(Winston Churchill 1874-1965)的肖像。當時邱吉爾在加拿大演 說,爭取國際支援英國的參戰,完結後卡什有兩分鐘拍照的時間。邱吉爾 一向不喜鏡頭再加上壞心情,卡什感到他對待照相機「就好像對待納粹 黨」一樣;他拍照時直覺地把邱吉爾嘴巴咬住的雪茄拿掉,完成了這張怒 目而視的肖像。這張肖像營造了邱吉爾挑釁的性格,短小的身軀卻有種百 折不撓的氣燄,這張照片大大振奮了當時尚在跟德國單打獨鬥的英國民 眾,成為當時流通最廣的肖像照片,成為一種權力圖像的極至。卡什把這 幀照片命名為《咆哮的雄獅》(The Roaring Lion)。卡什聲名大噪,以 後的歲月拍過不少名人,權傾一時的政治人物也不少,其中包括戴高樂、 艾森豪威爾、卡斯特羅等等,大概是因為他有制作這種令人信服的英雄 圖像的能耐。
在拍攝了這張作品以後,卡什在邱吉爾情緒緩和以後又為他拍攝了一張 相同姿勢的肖像,只不過這樣是面帶微笑的,作為攝影師,卡什更喜歡這 張。2013年4月26日,英格蘭銀行宣佈選用了那張更為知名的作品作為2016 年發行的新版五英鎊紙幣的頭像。
“Photography is, to me, more than a means of expression, more than my particular prefession – it is a way of life. And if I were asked to choose one word which holds the key to my work I would select ‘light’ – for light is my language, and it is international, readily understood by any person of any race.”
“攝影對我來說不僅僅是一種表達方式,也不僅僅是我的專業,它是我的生 活方式。如果有人要讓我選一個詞語來概括我的工作,我會選‘光’這個字,光 是我的語言,他是國際通用的,能夠被任何地方任何種族的人快速理解。”
“Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can. The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize.”
“每個人都有自己的秘密,作為一個攝影師,我會盡我所能揭示和發覺 它。無意間的手勢、眼睛的一瞥、臉頰輕微的抬起這些小動作都揭示了人 們識圖掩飾內心深處的自我。作為攝影師,我必須抓住稍縱即逝的機會 去 捕 捉 。”