As a young man in World War II-ravaged Austria, photographer Ernst Haas made a name for himself with a series of images of Austrian women waiting for their husbands to return from a POW camp.
“The emotionally wrenching shots caught the eye of Robert Capa, who invited him to New York to join his newly formed Magnum [a photo cooperative] alongside Cartier-Bresson and other eminent founders,” states The Jewish Chronicle Online.
[Above: Clouds and Skyline, New York, 1957]
Arriving in the U.S. in 1951, he shot ad campaigns as well as haunting images of postwar America.
He also turned his camera on New York City, capturing fleeting moments of the abstract beauty of the city’s street life and landscapes. [Central Park, below, in 1952, published in Life magazine]
“Rejecting the prevailing black-and-white aesthetic, Haas embraced colour as early as 1949, which earned him the honour of becoming the first photographer to have a solo show of colour work at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York in 1962,” states The Jewish Chronicle Online.
“He even explored the visual effects of movement, blurring the colours to look like they had been applied with paint.”
Haas’ pioneering photos have been collected in a 2011 book, Ernst Haas: Color Correction.
Like Saul Leiter and other photographers who shot New York in full-on color during the same period, roughly the 1950s through the 1970s, they show us a magical, reflective, transient city.
[Ernst Haas, left]