“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?”
Early color photograph holds a special place in my heart. The pioneers, like William Eggleston and Joel Meyerowitz, showed that color photography could be used for more than advertising and editorial work, especially when taken out on the street.
But even before those two guys, and their comrades like Stephen Shore and Alex Webb, photographers in the 1950s were blazing a vibrant trail.
Ernst Haas was one of these trailblazers, exploring streets and urban scenes in the ’50s, and making his living as a Magnum photographer. A reissued book of Haas’s photography, Color Correction, is out from Steidl, and it’s a great overview of Haas’s personal work.
Haas sits in the same photography family as early color photographers like Saul Leiter. You get the sense that color, light, and abstraction were all tools Haas (and Leiter) used to express his personal vision.
It’s Haas’s use of light and shadow that really gets me excited. That low-key work, combined with the vibrant colors, is what attracted me to Haas in the first place.
Color Correction is an affordable look into that midcentury color photography that’s timeless and continually satisfying.