Yousuf Karsh & Nadav Kander

When looking at Yousuf Karsh’s photography work, one can see that there is a theme going on. All of his photos are portraits in black and white, showing less than half of his subjects’ body, or a medium close up, while they are pensive, or lost in thought. There is a lot of contrast because we can clearly see the details and expressions in each image. The lighting style, short light, for most of them is also the same, considering that the poses are all three quarter views. We know this because the lighting is coming from their left side which causes for there to be a shadow on their right side which seems to have been diffused. Karsh did a good job framing and capturing the photo because none of the subjects’ head is cut off at the top. He does a great job overall setting a tone to the images he captures.


Nadav Kander, on the other hand, has a tendency to lean more towards, what seems like, gel filters. In this case, there is a constant use of blues and greens. Even though his photographs also consist of a lot of portraits, most of them are using broad lighting. Just like Karsh, he uses a three quarter view, where you can barely see one side of the face, but are still able to see both eyes. There is also a theme of transparency in his photos. Some have an image placed behind them that bleeds through the main image, which is the subject and the others have a very blurred out background which could mean that he used a very low aperture.

One thought on “Yousuf Karsh & Nadav Kander

  1. rmichals

    Be careful not to make sweeping generalizations.

    If you look at this page of Karsh’s most famous portraits, some are in 3/4 view and some are looking straight forward. Some of those that are in a 3/4 view use short light but Karsh also uses broad light.

    The same is true of Kander. He does use broad light but he uses short light as well.

    Remember that Karsh worked mostly in the middle of the 20th century when there was only b/w while Kander is working now.


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