I haven’t thought of Ernst Haas in years. Every so often I come across an image of his and it sparks a wonderful teenage memory. Haas was a photojournalist and pioneering color photographer. I was lucky to discover him very early in my career. Haas bridged the gap between photojournalism and the use of photography as a medium for expression and creativity.
When I was just getting into photography, the local public library (remember those?), had a limited number of photo books. One of the few that they had, and I kept renewing it, was Ernst Haas’, “The Creation”. Haas essentially sequenced a series of images to evoke the biblical creation. As a whole it was fantastic and sparked my imagination. Each image was a masterpiece unto itself. His images were widely disseminated by magazines like Life and Vogue and, in 1962, were the subject of the first single-artist exhibition of color photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He served as president of the cooperative Magnum Photos, and his book The Creation (1971) was one of the most successful photography books ever, selling 350,000 copies.