Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Ernst Haas

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



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


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.”


See the full article here


Photography Books we recommend

It is that time of year, either you are looking for a book as a present for a photographer or you are constantly pressured by those who love you to come up with some ideas for what you would like as a Christmas present, so here are just a few suggestions. In no order or genre, just books we like

Tom Ang How to Photograph Absolutely Everything

This book does what it says, aimed at a more compact camera user with it’s technical advice but the ideas advice is excellent and everyone could learn from Tom.


Freeman Patterson Photography and the Art of Seeing

This is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in photography, not just taking snaps but those who really want to understand composition and the way it effects our images. This really is an excellent book that I have returned to regularly for ideas and understanding and inspiration

Almost any book featuring the work of Henri Cartier Bresson would be welcomed as a gift, I have a particular affection for this one

Henri Cartier Bresson Europeans

The book that started me off as a photographer when I was about 13 was by Bill Brandt, it was so inspiring that more than 40 years on I still return to it and marvel at this quiet man’s work

Bill Brandt Shadow of Light

At this time I can only see hardback copies from book dealers but even so it is worth the time and trouble finding one. An alternative is the book simply titled Brandt this has more pictures covering the widest areas of Brandt’s interest with a forward by David Hockney and a commentary by Bill Jay







This next book is not a photography book but in terms of visual ideas it is essential for any thinking person, it is large and stupidly cheap, I can’t recommend this book strongly enough The Art of Looking Sideways

Street Photography Now

This is a really excellent book and as Martin Parr says “it will become the new defining guide to street photography” Witty and full of ideas and inspiration, masses of pictures and features on specific photographers. A must if you are interested in street photography

I will post later about some other books I would like to find at the end of my bed on Christmas day.