Detail View

Winston Churchill
Date: 1941
Culture: Canadian
Dimensions: image flush: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm) mat: 30 x 24 in. (76.2 x 61 cm)
Medium: gelatin silver print
Credit Line: Gift of Estrellita Karsh in memory of Yousuf Karsh
Label Text: In 1941, the Prime Minister, Mackenzie King, invited me to be present while Churchill addressed the Canadian Parliament….After the electrifying speech, I waited in the Speaker’s Chamber where I had set up my lights and camera. I switched on my floodlights; a surprised Churchill growled, “What’s this, what’s this?” I timorously stepped forward and said, “Sir, I hope I will be fortunate enough to make a portrait worthy of this historic occasion.” Churchill lit a fresh cigar, puffed at it with a mischievous air, and then magnanimously relented. Churchill’s cigar was ever present. I held out an ashtray, but he would not dispose of it. I went back to my camera and waited; he continued to chomp vigorously at his cigar. Then I said “Forgive me, sir,” and plucked the cigar out of his mouth. By the time I got back to my camera, he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me. It was at that instant that I took the photograph. The silence was deafening. Then, smiling benignly, he shook my hand, and said, “You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed.” Yousuf Karsh
Object Number: 2011.107
Currently not on view