Photojournalist (during World War II) and colour photographer
March 2nd 1921 – September 12th 1986 (Born in Austria)
His book ‘The Creation’ sold 350,000 copies
Hass photographed America, Europe, South Africa and Southeast Asia in expressionistic colour
The cameras he’d mainly used – Rolleiflex and a 35mm Leica rangefinder
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.
Though his formal education was complicated by the war, Haas was an autodidact and worked tirelessly to learn the medium. In 1941 as the “school photographer” of the Max Reinhardt Film Seminar, he managed to attend technical classes and developed a lifelong interest in filmmaking. Haas also took advantage of his family’s extensive library, as well as museums and libraries in Vienna. He studied philosophy and poetry, in particular, both of which informed his beliefs about the creative potential for photography.
A Poet’s Camera (1949), which combined poetry with metaphoric imagery by artists like Edward Weston, was particularly important to Haas’s early development. Many of his first extant photographs—close-ups of plants, water, and natural forms—reflect its influence.
Unsure of his career path, Haas realized that photography could provide both a means of support and a vehicle for communicating his ideas. He obtained his first camera in 1946, at the age of 25, trading a 20-pound block of margarine for a Rolleiflex on the Vienna black market. Of the decision, he later said:
I never really wanted to be a photographer. It slowly grew out of the compromise of a boy who desired to combine two goals—explorer or painter. I wanted to travel, see and experience. What better profession could there be than the one of a photographer, almost a painter in a hurry, overwhelmed by too many constantly changing impressions? But all my inspirational influences came much more from all the arts than from photo magazines.