The Ratio of Two Photographers

The Golden Ratio works with just about all kinds of photography. Or does it?

Within this section I will look two photographers, one current and one historical. I will compare and contrast their types of photography with each other and in relation with the Golden Ratio.

First photographer I will look at is Yousuf Karsh.

Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf was born in 1908. He was brought up in Mardin, a city in the eastern Ottoman Empire, presently Turkey. During his younger years the Armenian Genocide and later fled to Syria with his family. At the age of 16, Yousuf was sent to Quebec, Canada to like with his uncle George Nakash who was a photographer. Yousuf attended school in Quebec and assisted his Nakah in his photography studio. Nakah saw potential in Yousuf and arranged for him practice with a portrait photographer. After a few years, Yousuf established a studio close to the Canadian Government. It didn’t take long before the Canadian Prime Minster discovered Yousuf and arranged portrait sittings with various important people. His work attracted the attention of many celebrities and on the 30th of December 1941 he took what would be his most famous portrait when he photographed Winston Churchill. His status gained him a spot on the top 100 most notable people of the century, named by the International Who’s Who book.

As you’ve probably guessed, his main area of work was in portrait photography. I will firstly look at the relationship between the Golden Ratio and Yousuf’s photography. (Roll over your mouse to show the Golden Ratio)

These are a few of Yousuf Karsh’s portraits. The last photograph of Winston Churchill being the most famous one of all. When looking at the photographs in terms of the composition and Golden Ratio, they all have a tendency not to fit well. The most precise point of the Golden Spiral is some why off the focus point that Yousuf want’s you to look at. This trend isn’t unique to Karsh’s photography, in fact its the portraiture category in general, as pointed out in my previous article. I believe that within portraiture the main focus is the male or female being photographed. The composition is almost irrelevant.

My next practitioner is a guy call Sam Javanrouh. He was born in Iran and lived most of his life there. He moved to Canada in 1999 when he got his first camera, a Nikon CP950 digital camera. In the year of 2003 he set up his own photoblog titled a daily dose of imagery. His goal was to document his day to day visual experience in a photographic form and post a new photo for everyday of the year and is still going today, 7 years on. His website has attracts thousands of page views each day and is a source of inspiration to many. He has also won many photographic and blogging awards from his site.

(Again, Roll over your mouse to show the Golden Ratio)

The selection of images have been picked out from his blog. Each shows a strong use of the Golden Ratio to achieve a visually pleasing image. With this method of composition Sam can take a simple mundane photograph and make it interesting, it takes a photograph from being ‘just another photograph’ to ‘wow, look at that’ in most cases. In my opinion Sam’s work has to utilise the Golden Ratio to achieve his reoccurring “readership” back to his website and this shows. If you flick through his website and visualise the Golden Ratio over the top of each image most of the photos would fit.

The key difference between Yousuf Karsh and Sam Javanrouh is genre 0f photographs being taken. Sure the two photographers have taken similar photographs from time to time, but its the number of times that Yousuf Karsh doesn’t use the Golden Ratio within his portraits because its not essential to make photograph and the frequency that Sam Javanrouh will use the Ratio within his work to make it visually interesting – regardless of the subject matter.

This entry was posted in Photographers, Practitioners, Project 1, Research, The Golden Ratio. Bookmark the permalink.

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