YOUSUF KARSH & JOHN GARO: The Search For A Master's Legacy
by Mehmed Ali
Although unknown today, in the early years of the twentieth century, Garo was a nationally acclaimed photographer, a leader in the thriving Boston photographic community. Cultured and charming, Garo also painted watercolors, wrote poetry and counted among his friends luminaries in the worlds of music and theater. It was to this humanistic atmosphere of Garo’s sky lit studio that the fledgling photographer, Yousuf Karsh, a survivor of the 1915 Armenian Massacres, was sent by his uncle George Nakash, to be Garo’s apprentice. Garo was a nurturing and encouraging mentor. His three years with Garo transformed young Karsh’s life and influenced his original desire to portray those personalities who made a positive impact on our world.
Garo died in 1939. Karsh, then still a struggling photographer, was devastated to discover Garo’s studio ransacked. Thus began a forty-year odyssey by Karsh to discover his mentor’s portraits, and preserve them for posterity.