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Saturday, 20 December 2008
Winston Churchill By Yousef Karsh


This photo, taken almost 90 years ago, remains one of the most famous portraits ever taken. The story goes that Karsh wanted Churchill to remove his cigar from his mouth but Churchill did not want to. Reaching forward to appear as if he was going to adjust Churchill's collar, Karsh suddenly pulled the cigar from Churchill's mouth and snapped the picture. Cheeky fellow, that Karsh, considering WW2 was raging and Churchill was leader of the then world power, Great Britain. But the end result is truly a mesmerizing portrait.

Here's a question. From what angle did Karsh take the photo? Yes, from waist level. From where does an archer shoot his arrow? Eye level. From where does a deer hunter fire his rifle? Eye level. No wonder Clint Eastwood shot from the hip. Nobody saw it coming. They could not look away from those steely blue eyes! When the photographer holds a camera up to his face and points it at another person something happens, and in most cases it is not good. It often makes the subject uneasy. Maybe after some time he will relax, and overcome this intimidating lens pointing at him. Maybe not.

When you shoot from waist level, you can look face-to-face with your subject. There is no camera in the way. You can briefly look down to frame your subject then look up and carry on your conversation and fire away at just the right moment. Not to say there are not many amazing portraits taken from eye level, but shooting from the hip will in most cases be less intimidating for your subject.

Flipbac and relax. (Cheesy, I know, but it I could not resist).

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Posted by: Flipbac
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