Ernst Haas: On Set
- This volume considers the film-stills of Ernst Haas, one of the most accomplished photographers of the twentieth century, transgressing the borders between static photography and the moving image
This volume considers the film-stills of Ernst Haas, one of the most accomplished photographers of the twentieth century, transgressing the borders between static photography and the moving image. Haas worked with a variety of directors from Vittorio de Sica to John Huston, Gene Kelly and Michael Cimino covering movie genres from suspense (The Third Man; The Train) to the Western (The Oregon Trail; Little Big Man), and from comedy (Miracle in Milan; Love and Death) to musicals (West Side Story; Hello Dolly). While the photographic reference system known as the film-still has existed since the birth of cinema, inherent to the genre are precisely those parameters that are essential qualities of Haas photography, and which interact in a striking manner with his images made independently of film. On the one hand, we find photographs documenting shoots and depictions of individual scenes. On the other hand, it is Haas clear ambition to inscribe a temporal dimension into these images; to impose filmic principles into the stills which, viewed in a sequence, generate movement and narrative. Indeed, so great was his mastery of colour, light, and motion that Haas was frequently called upon to photograph large group actions from the battle scenes of Charge of the Light Brigade and the dances of West Side Story to the ski-slopes of Downhill Racer. While adding a fascinating new take on the sets and the stars he photographed, Ernst Haas On Set will also introduce readers to a little-known but crucial dimension in the work of this celebrated photographer. Ernst Haas was born in Vienna in 1921 and took up photography after World War II. His early work on returning Austrian prisoners of war brought him to the attention of Life Magazine, from which he courageously declined a job as staff photographer in order to maintain his independence. At the invitation of Robert Capa, Haas joined Magnum in 1949, developing close associations with Capa, Werner Bishof and Henri Cartier-Bresson. He began experimenting with colour, and went on to become the premier colour photographer of the 1950s. In 1962 New Yorks Museum of Modern Art mounted its first solo exhibition of his colour photography. Haas books were legion, and one, The Creation (1971), sold 350.000 copies. Ernst Haas received the Hasselblad award in 1986, the year of his death.