Armenian-born Karsh lived through the 1915 genocide in his homeland, emigrating to Canada to live with his uncle in 1924. After being apprenticed to the Boston photographer, John Garo, he set up his own studio in Ottawa in 1932. A portrait photographer, Karsh became internationally known for his 1941 portrait of Winston Churchill. Among his famous sitters were Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso. Karsh endeavoured to record the elusive personalities of his sitters when for 'a brief moment all that there is in a man's mind and soul and spirit may be reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude'.