Ernst Haas was born in Vienna in 1921. He is acclaimed as one of the most celebrated and influential photographers of the 20th century and considered one of the pioneers of color photography. Haas was uninterested in learning photography as a child, though his father—an avid amateur—tried to share his interest. Upon his father’s death in 1940, however, Haas first entered the darkroom, learning to print old family negatives. His interest grew, and he soon began to take his own photographs.
In 1953 Haas moved to New York City and began freelancing for some of the top magazines in New York. At this time in New York, the photo community was small enough that everyone working for the various picture magazines crossed paths constantly. When asked about his move from Vienna, Haas commented, "I would have become lazy in Vienna, so I went to New York, the city which makes you work and presses everything out of you... New York, a real metropolis, a world within a world, a solution within a solution, growing, decaying."
Life published a groundbreaking 24-page color photo essay on New York City created by Haas. This was the first time such a large color photo spread was published by Life. It was met with such success that they asked Haas to produce two similar photo essays on Paris and Venice.
In 1960 Haas served as president of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, of which he had been a long term member. In 1962 Haas was given a one man show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York . His was the first color show ever held at the Museum. The following year Haas published his first book entitled Elements.
(© Ernst Haas / Getty Images, via Wikipedia)