The masters of street photography #2 : Ernst Haas

This week, let's have a look at the work of an other early colourist that worked in the 50's and 60's, that is Austrian born Ernst Haas. Ernst Haas was not only a photojournalist, but also a great poet that expressed himself through photography.

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Quick facts/observations about Ernst Haas.
 
–  Austrian born, 1921-1986, worked most of his life as a photojournalist and used his free time for personal works such as street photography.
– most of his reknown street photographs were taken in the US, yet he worked on assignments all over the world.
– he bought is first camera, a Rolleiflex, by trading in 10 kilos of margarine. He later switched to Leica which he used for most his career.
– he experimented with creative techniques such as selective focus and blurs with the aim to "transform an object from what it is to what you want it to be."
– his passion for poetry is a recurring theme in his street photographs.
– to allow for more control of hue and saturation, Ernst Haas used mostly the expensive dye transfer process for his prints.
– his 106 pages colour book "The creation" is one of the best selling photography book ever, with more than 350'000 copies.
– he became Magnum's fourth president and his guidance to its members was :  "Every one of us wants to take beautiful, striking, extraordinary pictures. Every one of us is struggling with his own style. Changes don’t come purely by will power alone, but they never come by being satisfied. Let us be more critical with each other: it will bring us closer. Let us find a new common denominator in the struggle, not to follow our own standards of invention. Don’t cover—discover!"
– his legacy can be sumed up with the quote by one of the MOMA's direct, Edward Steichen : “He is a free spirit, untrammelled by tradition and theory, who has gone out and found beauty unparalleled in photography.”
 
If I could ask him a question ….
 
– what do you think of the design of today's cars ?
 
To discover more about Ernst Haas
 
Book : Ernst Haas – a small book full of amazing street photographs.
 
If you missed it last week, have a look at the work of Saul Leiter too.

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