© Karsh/Camera Press
London based photo agency Camera Press has provided the license to the Bank of England for the use of Karsh’s famous wartime portrait of Winston Churchill on ‘The New Fiver’ note in the UK.
They say: Karsh’s portrait, taken in December 1941 during World War II was said to encapsulate the British bulldog spirit. However, Churchill’s belligerent expression in reality owed as much to the fact that his cigar was snatched away prior to the shot being taken. As Karsh recalled in his memoirs: Churchill’s cigar was ever present. I held out an ashtray, but he would not dispose of it. I went back to my camera and made sure that everything was all right technically. I waited; he continued to chomp vigorously at his cigar. I waited. Then I stepped toward him and, without premeditation, but ever so respectfully, I said, “Forgive me, sir,” and plucked the cigar out of his mouth. By the time I got back to my camera, he looked so belligerent he could have devoured me. It was at that instant that I took the photograph.
Camera Press is proud to have represented the Karsh archive for nearly 70 years, Karsh was one of the first photographers to join the fledging agency set up in 1947 by Tom Blau.
PAN asked CP how the Bank of England licenses images? Do they pay a rate card license fee? They said:
We cant go into details because of a confidentiality clause, but we can confirm that an arrangement was reached between Camera Press and The Bank of England, and the usage has the approval of both the Karsh and Churchill estates. Karsh’s Churchill portrait is much admired by the Churchill family. Mrs Karsh is still involved with the Karsh archive and is delighted that the image will feature on the £5 note for years to come.’
• The Churchill note as it is being called, will be the first British note to be printed on polymer and will enter circulation in September this year.