Great and Gratis…Karsh Photo exhibit at LAPL

One of my most favorite moments in LA is when you literally STUMBLE UPON (and I don’t mean the website) a great art show. This time I was returning an overdue library book at the Central Library (sí, confieso mi pecado) and oh joy!! I noticed black and white oversize portraits against a bright red wall.

The expo currently on hand is called Karsh 100. If you go see it, you’ll instantly recognize the people in the portraits. The photographer, Yousef Karsh, born 100 years ago on Dec. 28, 1908, was one of the premier portrait photographers of the last century. Here are a few samples of his work:

Audrey Hepburn, lovely!

Audrey Hepburn, lovely!

A young and beautiful Jackie Kennedy in 1957. She was already married to JFK.

A young and beautiful Jackie Kennedy in 1957. She was already married to JFK at the time of this picture.

Sofia Loren...amazing photograph taken in 1985.

Sofia Loren...amazing photograph taken in 1985.

And then we have this interesting juxtapositon of good and evil*:

(* I may add that this is just my opinion, by the way. )

Powerful images, good vs. evil side by side.

Powerful images, side by side. Mother Teresa and Fidel Castro.

Here’s a little excerpt from the biography and Yousef Karsh as part of the exhibit:

“For many viewers around the world, Yousef Karsh defined the photographic portrait in the 20th century. Specializing in iconic images of the world’s leading figures- statesmen, writers, actors, musicians and scientists- Karsh made images that resonated with his audience. Karsh left his native country of Armenia at age 14 and settled in Ottawa. His rise to international success began in 1941 with a portrait of Winston Churchill that became the iconic representation of the statesman. By the end of the decade, Karsh had become the most sought after photographer of famous and powerful people. His exquisite, gentlemanly manners and professionalism made sitters comfortable, and privileged individuals trusted Karsh to record their likeness in a way that would protect their reputations. Many of the photographs he made have become the definitive images of his subjects, the images that the world remembers. At the end of his life, Karsh moved to Boston, Massachussets. He died there in 2002 at the age of 94. During hi sixty year career he had held over 15 thousand sittings and produced some 150 thousand negatives.”

Exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Farmers Insurance Group; and LAPL. Go see it if you can at the lobby of the Central LAPL, 630 W. 5th Street, Downtown LA (corner of Figueroa.)

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