Monday, May 25, 2015

Ernst Haas

 
 
In 1983 I attended a multi-day photography workshop with Ernst Haas. Haas was a famous photography and pioneer photojournalist. In the photo above, Haas is setting in the front with the black sweater. I am fifth from the left on the back row. Ernst died a few years later in 1986, but those few days with him and the other serious photographers from around the country was a wonderful learning experience. Actually, I have had a number of similar experiences where I have sat at the feet of great teachers where I could learn and be challenged.

Here is a Ernst Haas quote, "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."

By the way, one of the photos I made during that workshop was the cover of Charles David Smart's CD "Return to the River" just last year.

I believe that life-long learning and continuing education is the secret to continuing to have a long and impactful life. Photography has a 176 year-old history, but there are new things to learn and new technologies to explore every day. Staying up on what's new and at the same time staying grounded in the tradition makes for a rewarding career.

When Ernst Haas started shooting color, Kodachrome was ISO 8, so exposure times were tediously slow. Today pro photographers regularly shoot digital color at ISO 6400. I wonder what Haas would be doing with that kind of speed and versatility.