Ernst Haas

In order to learn more about colour photographers, I have looked at a lot of work from different photographers, like William Eggleston, Ernst Haas and Joel Meyerovitz on the internet this week. I especially like Haas' photography. Most of all because he truly masters the skill of using colour as an element in the design of the picture and because of the way he can turn ordinary scenes into beautiful abstract images by using reflections of windows, colours, lines etc. I read his philosophy and would like to share the part on color with you.

"Beware of colour theories, theories in colour photography are dangerous. The plain fact that there are so many of them proves my point. A colour philosophy comes much closer to the truth. ...... There is no formula. There are only confirmations to formulas which one has already discovered oneself. I myself love to read theories without ever using them when working.

Style has no formula, but it has a secret key. It is the extention of your personality. The summation of this indefinable net of your feeling, knowledge and experience. Take color as a totality of relations within a frame. Don't ever overanalyze your results. Don't ever try to find your own secret or the one that you admire. One does not try to catch soap bubbles. One enjoys them in flight and is greatful for their fluid existence. The thinner they are the more exuberant their colour scheme. 

Colour is joy, one does not think joy. One is carried by it. Learn by doing, or even better, unlearn by doing. The opposite of what you learned. The paradoxical fact in the aesthetic is that theories are also true in reverse.

Still, I don't want to declare there are no highways of fruitful directions. In learning there are. Follow them, use them and forget them. Don't park. Highways will get you there, but I tell you, don't ever try to arrive. Arrival is the death of inspiration. Beware of direct inspiratoin. It leads too quickly to repetitions of what inspired you. Beware of too much taste as it leads to sterility. Refine your senses through the great masters of music, painting and poetry. In short, try indirect inspirations, and everything will come by itself." 

Ernst Haas Estate, (2012) Philosophy by Haas, color theories [online]. Available from: [Accessed 18 March 2013]