As a photographer, or any creative person, sometimes you hit a wall. You’re stuck. You don’t know how to express your ideas or you’re simply at a loss for ideas. When I get to that point, I look through books to find inspiration.
I wanted to write today about one of the photographers who inspires me. Before I start, I would love to hear which photographer or artist inspires you. So think about your comment as you read.
For portrait storytelling, something that Katrina and I try to do when we photograph our clients, no one was better than Yousef Karsh. In my opinion, Karsh was the 20th century’s best portrait artist. I have always endeavoured to control light as he did, to pose his subject’s hands with such perfection. I have several of his books and often study them, trying to glean some of the perfectness in his images. Karsh photographed famous people, and created iconic images. Here are my three favourite images from this amazing artist.
Winston Churchill. It’s probably Karsh’s most recognizable images, and one of my favourites. The Yousef Karsh website has the whole story about this portrait here. What I like about most is the beautiful light on the wood behind his head.
The second image that I want to share is this portrait of George Bernard Shaw. I really like the posing of the hands, the detail in the jacket and I love the background light. I love the way it separates George’s head from the blackness. There is so much expression in this image, it’s simply amazing.
The final image is of cellist, Pablo Casals. It’s my favourite portrait of all time. I love it because I can feel so much about the personality of this amazing artist without even seeing his face. It reminds me that a portrait doesn’t necessarily need to be a map of the face, that emotion is often stronger than expression.
What artist inspires you?