Color Correction - Ernst Haas

blogEntryTopperAmong the first few photo books I got was Ernst Haas 1975 book In America I had seen his work featured in, I would say, a copy of the American magazine Popular Photography and was really excited by it. Shortly after, a photographer friend of mine gave me a copy of Haas' book as a birthday present. Of course I soaked it up. I shot mainly black and white at that time and had just set up a darkroom. But this introduced me to colour, it's language and power and how a great photographer handled it.

Haas died in 1986 and in the intervening years his personal work seems to have got little exposure. So it was, with some excitement, that in 2011 I read that Steidl were to publish a book of Haas' work called Color Correction. At the start of the book, William Ewing explains the title '' I have chosen to use the term metaphorically, to suggest that we owe it to Ernst Haas, and our understanding of the history of colour photography, to re-evaluate his importance in light of this marvelous imagery, kept under wraps for so many years."

The book itself is a model of simple elegance. It's almost square format ( 25.8 x 27.3cm) is ideal to give equal space to both landscape and portrait formats from Haas' kodachromes. The book is also easy to handle. Divided into 12 sections, the work is presented an image per page with a little bit of 'breathing space' around each, (see photo) all the way through. This results in creating a visually quiet setting in which to enjoy these photographs which, by their nature, are poetic visual meditations. One gets a sense of the respect and joy for the world the photographer had. The reproductions are excellent on good quality paper. The book contains lots of work I had not seen before. Of those I had, it was interesting to see that the cover shot for In America was not used in Color Correction but a variation of it , one where Haas has changed his position slightly and used a wider angle lens resulting in, among other things, a repositioning of the reflected flagpoles.


At the time of writing I believe the first edition is no longer available. Lets hope that it will be back in print soon again. It's a book I treasure and highly recommend to anyone especially those who have come across his work on the web and would like to have a book of his work. Steidl’s publication sets a high standard.

More background
Ernst Haas philosophy
Alex Haas interview about his fathers work