I’m only 19 pages into the Karsh memoirs (In Search of Greatness) and I can already see what made Karsh the great portraitist that he was. He came to Canada on New Year’s Day in 1925 at the age of 17. By that summer, he was working as an apprentice in his uncle’s photography studio. Here’s what he says:

…I soon became acquainted with all the usual technical processes involved in developing, printing, and enlarging. But I particularly recall the special thrill I derived whenever Uncle Nakash had clients in for a sitting. It was then that I listened and watched most eagerly. I had to tune my ear to the special language of the studio, but the repartee between the photographer and the client always fascinated me.

I think this is what separates a great portraitist from the rest who are merely technicians. The great portraitist learns to extract the true personality of his or her subject during the shoot. I’m gonna keep reading… :nod: