Study the Masters: Ernst Haas

In Influences, Study the Masters by David7 Comments


Born in 1921 in Austria, Ernst Haas (1921-1986), like Saul Leiter born two years later, became known for his early work with Kodachrome. His photography was strongly graphic, emphasizing colour as a compositional elements and often using motion and reflections. Haas was a member of Magnum and a colleague of contemporaries Robert Capa and Henri Cartier Bresson.

You can see his work and find out more on the website of the Ernst Haas Estate. Take some time to look through his work. Study the composition. Then poke around the website,  Philosophy By Haas is a particularly good read, as are the Reflections on Haas.

If you can find them, Haas wrote 4 books, all of them now out of print: The Creation (1971), In America (1975), In Germany (1976), and Himalayan Pilgrimage (1978). Posthumously, his work is in Ernst Haas, Color Photography (1989), Ernst Haas in Black and White (1992), and Color Correction (2011).

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”

“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.”

“You don’t take pictures; the good ones happen to you.”

Haas-2 Haas-3


  1. Ernst Haas is always worth studying. I am happy to own “In America” and “In Germany” in good print quality and I am sad that I never managed to buy “The Creation” in good quality, but paperback is better than not owning it at all. 😉 Next to them is Time Life Wildernesses of The World – Grand Canyon, most of the fotos by Ernst Haas.
    I always liked his way to deal with light, motion and emotion. Most of all his unpretentious way of portraying life altogether. He was one of a kind.
    Nevertheless I think you, David, might flow in a sort of similar state of viewing and portraying life. Maybe that’s why I like your work – pictures, blog and books – more than others, though they surely are as good as you are.
    And it was exactly this picture of a bucking horse, that then and there got me hooked to the work of E.H.

  2. I’ve always been a big believer in studying people you admire. I learn so much by looking at, and figuring out how photos are composed. I love studying Michael Frye, Richard Bernabe, Ian Plant, and YOU, David!

  3. OMFG… I just started reading Saul Leiter, now I have to get Haas too…? SWEET…! A cursory glance at his website left me stunned. Thanks, David…!

  4. i told you to read about him 😀 He is a great Photographer! Grab a copy of his “Ernst Haas Color Photography”, you can fine some used cheap one on Abe Books, it worths the money! 😀

    Happy day David.

      1. Hi David,

        yes I am doing quite well, after our wonderful photographic adventure together in Etiopia in 2012 I have continued my study in Photography and I am finishing this month my second year of photographic university here in Milan.
        I am really happy about it and I hope to have other chances to talk with you and Jeffrey about photos and art.
        Hope your health is getting better!!!

        By by,
        Stefano Bossi

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