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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Ernst Haas

Dates:  1921, 2 March - 1986
Born:  Austria, Vienna
Died:  US, NY, New York
Active:  Global
Website:  www.ernst-haas.com
 
  
Worked for Magnum and was an early adopter of color photography. Some of his most popular images include his color motion studies.

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Ernst Haas
Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK)

 
  
Ernst Haas bought his first camera in 1946 on the Viennese black market, exchanging the 10 kilograms of margarine he had been given for his 25th birthday for a 35 mm Rolleiflex. His medical studies had been interrupted during the war, so he had been working on and off in a photographers’ studio. His first published photo-story, Homecoming Prisoners of War, marked a turning point in his career. It was taken with his new camera in 1946 and published in Heute magazine in 1949. When this piece was taken up by Life magazine, Haas became the first photographer to be asked to join Magnum, an invitation that he accepted.
 
The following year Haas started to experiment with colour film. He played a pivotal role in the development of colour photography and in 1953 Life magazine devoted an unprecedented 24 pages to his first published colour essay, ‘Shots of a Magic City’, taken in New York. Haas went on to produce colour essays for magazines during the 1950s and 1960s, including features on Paris, Venice and England. From the mid 1950s he also started to investigate the semi-abstract depiction of movement. In 1958 readers of Popular Photography voted Haas one of the ‘World’s Ten Greatest Photographers’. 
  
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Victoria & Albert Museum and is included here with permission. 
  
Date last updated: 11 Nov 2011. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.
 
  

Biography provided by Focal Press 
  
Joined Magnum (1949–1962), moving to the United States in 1951. At a time when color photography was a second-rate, commercial medium to black and white, Haas’ 24-page Magic Images of New York (1953) was a groundbreaking innovation for LIFE that introduced the artistic and poetic possibilities of color photography into the public’s viewing habits. Noted for his experiments with color in motion and slow shutter speeds, his was the first exhibition of color photography at the Museum of Modern Art (1962). 
  
(Author: Robert Hirsch - Independent scholar and writer) 
  
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 
  

Further research

 
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Thumbnail
Erich Lessing
Ernst Haas with Leica M3 
1956 (taken) 1970s (print)
 
  
Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
 
  

Exhibitions on this website

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Visual indexes

 
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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
 

Internet resources

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Ernst Haas 
http://corporate.gettyimages.com ... 
Getty images: Masters gallery 
  
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
  
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.249 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
  
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.239 
  
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
  
• International Center of Photography 1999 Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection (New York: A Bulfinch Press Book) p.217-218 [Includes a well written short biography on Ernst Haas with example plate(s) earlier in book.] 
  
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Ernst Haas.] 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Bauret, Gabriel (ed. and text) 2001 Color Photography (New York: Assouline) [Includes example color photographs by Ernst Haas] 
  
• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.249 
  
• Koetzle, Hans-Michael 2002 Photo Icons: The Story Behind the Pictures - Volume 2 (Koln: Taschen) [This book discusses one photograph "Vienna (1947)" by Ernst Haas in considerable detail. An excellent source for a detailed analysis.] 
  
• Maisel, Jay (ed.) 1986 The Most Beautiful Place in the World 
Location Ernst Haas photographed for this book: Venice 
  
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by Ernst Haas are included in this classic history.] 
  
 

Quotations

The wit and wisdom.

 
"A picture is the expression of an impression. If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?"
"The best pictures differentiate themselves by nuances…a tiny relationship — either a harmony or a disharmony - that creates a picture."
"The best zoom lens is your legs."
"There are two kinds of photographers: those who compose pictures and those who take them. The former work in studios. For the latter, the studio is the world…. For them, the ordinary doesn‘t exist: every thing in life is a source of nourishment."
"There is no formula -- only man with his conscience speaking, writing and singing in the new hieroglyphic language of light and time."
"There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are."
"With photography a new language has been created. Now for the first time it is possible to express reality by reality. We can look at an impression as long as we wish, we can delve into it and, so to speak, renew past experiences at will."
 
  
 
  
 
  
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