The “KARSH” exhibition that opened Sept. 3 at Haynes Galleries, 91 Main St./Route 1, has since met with extraordinary reception by the Midcoast community and has been extended through the end of the fall exhibition season.

Gary R. Haynes said it is with great enthusiasm and much appreciation that Haynes Galleries has decided to extend the Karsh exhibition. The famed photographer of 20th-century personalities has won the hearts and minds of the public throughout the decades. Yousuf Karsh, perhaps one of the most important portrait photographers of the 20th century, captured intimate moments with his sitters as seen in this collection of rare silver gelatin prints. It has been nearly a decade since his death, yet the art of Karsh continues to fascinate his audiences by imparting the subtle characteristics of his famous sitters’ personalities in his photographs.

“To make enduring photographs, one must learn to see with the mind’s eye, for the heart and the mind are the true lens of the camera,” Karsh said of his work.

Karsh photographed hundreds of influential and famous people during his lifetime and, in 1982, he editioned a select few of these photographs for special limited edition portfolio of 15 fine art photography prints. The Haynes exhibit of these prints is accompanied with entertaining stories such as how the young photographer snatched the cigar from the mouth of Sir Winston Churchill just before he shot the world famous image for LIFE magazine; and Ernest Hemingway’s surprise when Karsh requested a daiquiri during the morning of their scheduled photo shoot.

However, it is the reiterations of touching conversations with Helen Keller, Jean Sibelius, and Albert Einstein that reveal the humanitarian character of both the sitter and the photographer. Upon his first meeting with Keller, Karsh reminisced that when he looked into the eyes of the woman who had no sight or hearing since age three that he realized that her light came from within. Through her translator Polly Thompson, Karsh told Keller that he felt that he already knew her through her writings, “How to Appreciate the Beauty of Sunset.” For Karsh, this was an emotional meeting and he told Keller that he would no longer think of her as a sunset but rather as the sunrise. To that, she replied, “How I wish that mankind would take the sunrise for their slogan and leave the shadows of sunset behind them.”

The photograph an emotional Sibelius was taken just as Karsh had finished telling the Finnish composer a story about how his music had affected a community of weary Finnish loggers in Canada and how they had doubled their wartime output when his “Finlandia” was played for them. Karsh described composers face as carved granite, yet with infinite warmth and humanity. His was one of the last photographs taken of Sibelius.

Karsh met with Einstein at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies where he found the scholar to be a humble, thoughtful and possessing an almost child-like innocence. Karsh described Einstein as speaking sorrowfully and calmly, as a man who had seen the greatness of the universe and thereby saw far beyond mankind’s small affairs. When Karsh asked him what the world would be like if there were to be another atomic bomb dropped, Einstein replied wearily, “Alas, we will no longer be able to hear the music of Mozart.”

While Karsh is best known for his celebrity portraits, he also made portraits of everyday people. Many of these photos have remained unpublished and have been seen only by family and friends of the sitter, but Haynes Galleries has been loaned a few to complement the more famous faces.

Haynes Galleries is open Mondays through Saturdays. “KARSH” will run through Oct. 23. For more information or to schedule a private viewing, call 354-0605 or visit haynesgalleries.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.