Ernst Haas, An Inspiration

- 3 mins

One of my favorite photographers of all time is Ernst Haas (1921-1986). Born in Vienna in 1921, he was known for his pioneering use of color in his photography.

Each one of his photos is, frankly, unremarkable on its own. But as a collective, they are innovative and evocative. And more than his spellbinding photography, he had a view on art that resonates with me on a spiritual level.

Here are a list of his quotes:

The quote I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is, “I want to be remembered much more for a total vision than for a few perfect single pictures.”

I love this. At times, I feel like I am paralyzed with a need for perfection. Keeping this quote in mind reminds me that it’s not about being perfect—it’s about having a vision and carrying it into the world through execution.

I haven’t picked up a camera in ages. As of late, I’ve been lazy and unmotivated to pursue art—all I want to do is STEM, read, and run.

I have been looking at photos on Instagram a lot, and honestly, I think that’s had a negative effect on my being. It’s so easy to scroll through Instagram and become desensitized to the beauty. That’s why I believe in the power of art galleries—you spend some time in front of the artwork, seeing it in its full form, really soaking it in. Because at the end of the day, that’s what art is really for. Not just for beauty for beauty’s sake, but for a deeper understanding of the human condition and our relation to the world at large.

With so many great photos online—even with AI being able to generate some beautiful fake images—the question arises of whether one’s photography even matters. But if a photograph is just a collection of pixels, we are but a collection of atoms. Such is the essence of Haas’ view; photography matters not for the images themselves, but for the vision they express as a whole.

After graduation, I hope to spend at least a few months traveling with a camera, just seeing the world anew and recording what inspires me. I believe the first step in becoming a true photographer is a feeling of awe and respect for the subject—the second being a burning desire to express that feeling through a creative medium. Without a vision and a story of creation, a photograph is a simple form of documentation. But with these elements, photography is true art.

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