Saturday, November 29, 2014

Paper, Politics, Money, And The River

Since I've been spending the last two days speaking about Yousuf Karsh, his brother Malak Karsh was mentioned. Malak became a landscape photographer, travelling across Canada and in other places, photographing the land and the people in astonishing detail in both black and white as well as in colour. Like his brother, he worked late into life, and his skill with the camera was just as good. Wisely in choosing landscape photography, he forged his own path, professionally going by his first name. Between the two of them, they were the best photographers the country has produced.

Malak took this photograph, entitled Paper & Politics, in 1963, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, looking out at Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier. The tugboats were involved in dealing with the breakup of a log boom upstream. This was back in the day when fleets of timber were still floated down the river.

Paper & Politics, by Malak, 1963
The two brothers had their work together on the Canadian one dollar bill for many years until it was replaced by the dollar coin in the Eighties. Many Canadians will remember it. One of Yousuf's portraits of the Queen was on the one side. Malak's image above was adapted and engraved onto the other, as you see below.

This is the view today from the same spot; I took it this past May during the Tulip Festival. A bed of tulips has been planted here where Malak took that shot of the Hill and has been named in his honour. It is a fitting tribute to a man who was instrumental in the creation of the festival, and part of the lifeblood of the city and the country.

A reminder to City Daily Photo bloggers: the theme for December 1st is Workers.


  1. Great photos, and the $1 brings back some great memories for me. I also remember the $2, it was pink.

  2. The last photo is also of championship.


  3. I love the TULIP image!
    Happy weekend!

  4. Nice photo's of the wood in the river. Is it all transported by trucks now? I saw some driving on the road when I was there a few years ago.

  5. Great before and after shots, William! That new building on the right, I think, detracts some from the scene.

  6. I have seen so many logs on water only in movies or documentaries...

  7. So, great talent ran in that family.

  8. The Karsh brothers were so talented William, tres interesting post.

  9. @Linda: I can still remember the two dollar bill as well.

    @Tomas: thanks!

    @Gunn: thank you!

    @Marianne: yes, largely, you do see lumber trucks here and there.

    @Revrunner: that's actually the scaffolding around the West Block. It looks like an eye sore right now, but it'll improve when that's gone.

    @VP: I've seen a number of documentaries with them.

    @Sharon: definitely.

    @Grace: thanks!

  10. I didn't realise that logs were floated down rivers as late as 1963!
    Jane x

  11. I really like seeing your photo taken from the same spot. Brilliant post, William!

  12. Of course, Northern Maine has quite a logging tradition too. There are books, photographs and home movies that prove it.

  13. Fascinating post William. Enjoyed seeing this scene and your last one was super!

  14. Great to compare the two photos made from the same spot. I like both of them.
    Thanks for the info about the brothers Karsh.

  15. very neat! like the comparison views.

  16. Thanks for this. I've never heard of Malak! And I think you've got all the marks of a Malak-class photographer after looking at the last picture!

  17. You've given a good reminder about something that was so very common at one time.

  18. @Jane and Chris: it extended quite a long while into time.

    @EG: thank you!

    @Birdman: I have no doubt; there's a lot of timber out there.

    @Denise: thank you!

    @Jan: you're welcome!

    @Tex: I thought it a good idea to incorporate his to compare to mine, and adding the dollar bill seemed a good touch too.

    @Lowell: he has quite a number of coffee table books out there with his work.

    @Red: it was quite common back in the day.

  19. Great shots! That includes yours, William!

  20. Especially love seeing the real image that is on your dollar bill. Really cool! Beautiful spot too!

  21. love the last springy shot. that is nice. kind of cold and windy today. now how do i say that name? that is a tough one. i think every one should have easy names. (just kidding!!) ( :

  22. The things one learns from our blog community! Thanks, William.

  23. The Karsh brothers were amazing. They covered the entire gamut.

  24. Thanks for such an interesting post! Once you mentioned it I realized why the portrait of Queen Elizabeth was so familiar. What an honor to have the photos used on currency...too bad it was phased out.

  25. @Cheryl: thanks!

    @Lauren: it's a great spot in the two cities for photography.

    @Norma: thank you!

    @Beth: I think when I get to spring, I'll be using a tulip pic for my header.

    @RedPat: you're welcome!

    @Stuart: they certainly did.

    @Kay: yes, replaced by what we call the loonie.

  26. an interesting post and LOVE the last photo :)

  27. A most interesting post and I liked seeing that location from today's world.

  28. A wonderful to commemorate an outstanding artist!

    Both photographs are great and it is interesting to see the changes in the cityscape.

    Btw, I just tried to comment with the "name and url" tag, but the comment simply disappeared (I was working from a different browser and not logged.)

  29. Hi William. Thanks for your nice comment.

    Yes, this is common practice. I took the photo last month at the Ocala Golf Course, which is owned by the city. Often there are prisoners working on the course. They also have prisoners cleaning roadways.

    But the biggest project is the Sheriff's Farm. Convicts work on the farm, which has a variety of animals and grows all kinds of veggies. In fact, they get enough food from the farm to feed the prisoners in the county jail.

  30. While I do know of Yousef Karsh, I was unaware of his brother's photo skills as well. Seeing the original photo and the comparison years later was grewt. The original photo was very intriguing with that boat amidst all those logs.

  31. @Mari: indeed.

    @Jen: thanks!

    @Jack: so do I.

    @Randy: I did too!

    @Merisi: it certainly is.

    @Lowell: you're welcome!

    @Beatrice: they were both gifted photographers.