The New Hieroglyphic Language of Light and Time

New Mexico, USA, 1975

Ernst Haas was one of those rare photographers of the 20th century imbued with a certain poetical sensibility.   Born in Vienna in 1921, Haas almost went into medicine, but his artistic inclinations led him to photography.  Haas was soon invited into the famous Magnum photo agency, the first invitation by the agency's founder's Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and David Seymour.  Haas, like William Eggleston, was one of the first adopters of color photography and is largely credited with changing the medium as an artform altogether.  Ernst Haas was also profoundly prolific, traveling the world for assignments for magazines, but along the way he was building a personal portfolio of images the world has never seen – until now. Color Correction, a recently published monograph, exhibits a collection of never before seen photographs that are considered "far more edgy, loose, complex and ambiguous," and that Haas believed – in his own lifetime – people just wouldn't understand. 

New Mexico, USA, 1975

On Photography: Philosophy by Haas

Photography is a bridge between science and art. It brings to science what it needs most, the artistic sense, and to art the proof that nothing can be imagined which cannot be matched in the counterpoints of nature. Through photography, both artist and scientist can find a common denominator in their search for the synthesis of modern vision in time, space and structure. We can write the chapters in a visual language whose prose and poetry will need no translation.

The camera only facilitates the taking. The photographer must do the giving in order to transform and transcend ordinary reality. The problem is to transform without deforming. He must gain intensity in form and content by bringing a subjective order into an objective chaos. Living in a time of the increasing struggle of the mechanization of man, photography has become another example of this paradoxical problem of how to humanize, how to overcome a machine on which we are thoroughly dependent....the camera....

In every arts there is poetry. In every human being there is the poetic element. We know, we feel, we believe. As knowers we are like the scientist relating through logical determination. As feelers, we are like poets relating the unrelated through intuition. As believers, we are only accepting our human limitations. The artist must express the summation of his feeling, knowing and believing through the unity of his life and work. One cannot photograph art. One can only live it in the unity of his vision, we well as in the breadth of his humanity, vitality, and understanding....

There is no formula – only man with his conscience speaking, writing, and singing in the new hieroglyphic language of light and time.

Text by Ernst Haas

Intro Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper

Color Correction by Ernst Haas (Steidl) 

Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico