Nick DeWolf, Paris, 1959


Ernst Haas – “Images of a Magic City”

This was a photo essay in Life Magazine, published in two parts in 1953. It’s now considered an important moment in the use of color photography. Steidl published an excellent book last year that features some of the same photos (but many more from later in Haas’ career).

Above is a comparison of the recent book (left) with the magazine (view larger). The Steidl scans and reproductions are stunning, denser, darker colors with more detail. Considering the paper being used, the printing technology and that 60 years have passed (and yellowed the paper), the original looks pretty good. Life’s photo editing emphasized Haas’ use of color for abstraction and this widely-seen work must have been a revelation to many photographers.