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Lights! Camera! Personality! Karsh of Ottawa Collection


Just as he preferred large studio cameras, Karsh favoured large format prints. They were, in his opinion, more expressive and vivid. One of the most interesting objects in the Karsh collection is a rare enlarger (1997.0309), made for Karsh by Saltzman, J.G. Inc. The enlarger was so large that when


A Saltzman enlarger used by Karsh and his printer Ignas Gabalis (CSTM 1997.0309)
Karsh moved it to the Chateau Laurier from his Sparks Street studio the ceiling had to be raised to accommodate the size of the machine. This extra-large enlarger allowed Karsh to make photographic prints up to 30×40 inches (76×101 cm) from the original 4×5 and 8×10 negatives. It took up to thirty minutes to print the photographs on this scale. Only Karsh and his printer, Ignas Gabalis, who worked with Karsh from the early 1950s until 1992, operated the enlarger. Because it took so long to produce the large format images, Karsh called Gabalis the world’s slowest printer, but admitted that the quality of his work was impeccable.