Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Dreaming With Open Eyes: Ernst Haas

From the ever wonderful Faded+Blurred we get this view of Ernst Haas

“You become things, you become an atmosphere, and if you become it, which means you incorporate it within you, you can also give it back. You can put this feeling into a picture. A painter can do it. And a musician can do it and I think a photographer can do that too and that I would call the dreaming with open eyes.” – Ernst Haas

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In all of the Spotlights I have written, I have never come across a photographer so respected by his peers as was Ernst Haas. He was one of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century as well as one of the pioneers of color photography. Artists such as Cartier-Bresson, Cornell Capa, and Elliott Erwitt counted Haas as one of the greats. Ansel Adams expressed his admiration of him in a letter, saying, “I am very happy you exist. Photography is a better art because you exist. Can I say more? No!” Jay Maisel has said, “It is rare that the man equals the artist: Ernst did… His work was awesome, not just to me, but to an entire generation of photographers. The depth and breadth of it will emerge for years to come. I think it will be a startling revelation because he was as prolific as he was sensitive. He had a different head. It wasn’t overly crammed with photography; it was full of music, art, philosophy, and history. In short, he was a rarity, a well-educated man without cynicism, in love with the work around him.” read more here

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He bought his first camera in 1946 – actually, it wasn’t so much bought as it was traded for. He had received 10 kilos of margarine for his 25th birthday and he proceeded to go to the black market to trade it for a 35mm Rollieflex. “I never really wanted to be a photographer,” he said. “It slowly grew out of the compromise of a boy who desired to combine two goals – explorer or painter. I wanted to travel, see and experience. What better profession could there be than the one of a photographer, almost a painter in a hurry, overwhelmed by too many constantly changing impressions? But all my inspirational influences came much more from all the arts than from photo magazines.”

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See the full article here

 

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