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Yousuf Karsh has had a very interesting life. The now 91-year-old Karsh was born in Turkish Armenia. Karsh was just 14 when the family fled the horror of genocide in Armenia for freedom in Syria, with nothing but the belongings on their backs. At the tender age of 16, Karsh's parents sent him to Sherbrooke, Quebec, to live and work with his uncle, George Nakash, a portrait photographer.

Recognizing his nephew's talent, Nakash sent 20-year-old Karsh to Boston in 1928 to study with John H. Garo, one of the top portrait photographers in America. His exposure to the powerful and famous in Boston would leave an indelible impression on the young man and determine the course of his life. Young, talented and hungry, Karsh returned to Canada and set up a humble studio on Sparks Street in Ottawa. Eventually, he caught the eye of Prime Minister Mackenzie King, who took a liking to the relatively unknown photographer and helped him snag visiting dignitaries for portraits.


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