Photo of: Frederick H. Varley
Photographer: Yousuf Karsh
Culminating Activity - Part 1 - Yousuf Karsh - Photo Analysis
The photograph seen above is of Frederick Varley, one of the Group of Seven. Seeing how Varley liked to paint portraits, I really like how Karsh’s photograph has him appearing as though he is observing the viewer and contemplating how to paint them. It is also a nice touch that his hand and paintbrush are so visible and distinct. This serves to inform the viewer that the subject is an artist and that the use of their hands is therefore a significant part of their life.
Of the elements and principles of design utilized in this photo, the most prominent are that of texture, value, and contrast. Texture is seen in Varley’s skin, hair, and (to a lesser extent) his sweater. These textures are made more distinct by the use of value in the photo as the range of grays between white and black help to make the age of this painter more clear. The contrast of the shadows playing in the creases of Varley’s face also help to emphasize his age, as well as to give him a sense of seriousness and concentration. The shadows that form these distinctive facial expressions are made more powerful by the angle at which Karsh set-up his lighting.
Overall, this is one of my favourite photographs by Karsh. It’s probably because of the artist in me.