Yuri Gagarin

Good Artwork of the Day from the Met today:

The sudden rise to national and international fame took its toll on Gagarin. In attending various functions and receptions in his honour, he consumed large amounts of vodka and other alcoholic beverages, even though otherwise he was not a regular drinker. His physical appearance changed and he became noticeably heavier. The attention of female fans took a toll on his marriage. It was rumoured that his wife once caught him in a hotel room with another woman and Gagarin jumped out of the second floor window and hit his face on a kerbstone, which resulted in a deep cut above his left eye. The scar remained visible after the incident.

The photographer is Yousef Karsh:

As Karsh wrote of his own work inKarsh Portfolio in 1967, “Within every man and woman a secret is hidden, and as a photographer it is my task to reveal it if I can. The revelation, if it comes at all, will come in a small fraction of a second with an unconscious gesture, a gleam of the eye, a brief lifting of the mask that all humans wear to conceal their innermost selves from the world. In that fleeting interval of opportunity the photographer must act or lose his prize.”

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