Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yousuf Karsh and SoFoBoMo 2009 update

I was very fortunate to be invited to the opening ceremonies, Thursday 11 June, for the Yousuf Karsh Image Maker exhibition which is coinciding with his 100th year birthday, were he alive today.

He is mainly recognized with his classic portrait of Sir Winston Churchill at the start of World War II. This is were Karsh had the audacity to rip the cigar out of his hands which left Churchill with the slight scowl on his expression.

The Science and Technology Museum was the first venue to open and the Portrait Gallery of Canada is opening a few days later.

The images are all taken with my iphone. My first real trail with the new phone, and while the images are not great, they’re not bad when you consider how dark it was. Though many were also blurred.

Mrs. Karsh (images above) cut the ribbon into hall and also gave a great speech on the legacy of one of the finest portrait photographers. There sure were a lot of people waiting to get into the exhibit. There is something special in gazing at the beautifully rendered Black and White images that hang through the museum. One room is all black and only large portraits are lit around this circular room. The white dots are the few ceiling lights that provide a measure of safety for movement.

Because it’s a science and technology museum, they not only display his photography but also the equipment he used in the studio.

The set of brushes were a gift from Karsh’s mentor, the Boston Portrait photographer John Caro. There was this giant, almost 9 foot enlarger in one of the rooms. And best of all, there was his 8x10 View camera There is even a positive photograph that is back-lit, of Karsh and Ansel Adams standing side by side and by their expressions, somewhat reluctantly agreeing to being photographed. There will be another exhibit at the National Archives. Mrs. Karsh indicated in her speak that they are now showing some prints from negatives that he had never made a print of before.

SoFoBoMo 2009 Update

Originally I had an idea for this years SoFoBoMo’s project, which was to do a photographic study both in distance and in time as I travelled from the Capital of Ottawa to Algonquin Park. The journey was to show how nature and people are viewed near urban centres and how their lifestyles (external) change as they live more in remote areas.

My trip to Denmark used up a lot of vacation time and I was unable to undertake this journey when I got back. While in Denmark, we went for a walk around this park with a very small lake, almost a pond. I thought at the time that if I got enough reasonable images I could do a book just on this subject. To try and show how one could capture many different perspectives and views from what may seem so ordinary at first.

Many of the images are not great to my standards and I had thought I would try and find another pond near where I live and that way I could do a 2 lake study and hopefully get a better set of images.

Part of undertaking the SoFoBoMo project is to enjoy the process and learn to be flexible in your approach. There are always some things that will pop up that causes a change in the course. If you enjoy what you are doing and are not concerned with what others are achieving or how they will view your book, then adapting should be part of the excitement and not a frustration.

After all it is only another form of a slide show with some text added and I am sure we have all created slideshows from some of our images.
This image shows how small the lake is with the other side being so close.

Niels Henriksen


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