Yousuf Karsh: «Cecil B. DeMille»

11 Dec

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(…) Though Cecil B. DeMille was respected by his peers, his individual films were often criticized by them. «Directorially, I think his pictures were the most horrible things I’ve ever seen in my life,» said director William Wellman about him. «But he put on pictures that made a fortune. In that respect, he was better than any of us.» Critic Pauline Kael called DeMille «a sanctimonious manipulator who used to satisfy the voyeuristic needs of the God-abiding by showing them what they were missing by being good and then soothe them by showing them the terrible punishments they escaped by being good.» (…)

(…) Yousuf Karsh was a master of studio lights. One of Karsh’s distinctive practices was lighting the subject’s hands separately. He photographed many of the great and celebrated personalities of his generation. Throughout most of his career he used the 8×10 bellows Calumet (1997.0319) camera, made circa 1940 in Chicago. Journalist George Perry wrote in the British paper The Sunday Times that «when the famous start thinking of immortality, they call for Karsh of Ottawa.» (…)

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