Monday, December 6, 2010

Ernst Haas: “Misty Heights”

 I was initially attracted to this image because it made me think of A_____’s Symbol project. I remember our group brainstorming how to symbolize a cross without using the cross itself. This image is a great example of how this idea could be carried out as a beautiful image. While this image has the cross symbol, it is also a great image despite the symbolism. The mist adds an element of mystery and the angle is slightly misleading because at first I thought it was looking down from above the skyscrapers, but the lines of the buildings made me realize it was looking up at the skyscrapers from the streets below. From the first interpretation, it is mysterious because I wondered how high the buildings must be to be so high above the mist, triggering a slight fear from feeling to high above the ground. From the second interpretation, it is difficult to imagine how high the buildings tower over the viewer due to the interruption caused by the mist, making it feel as if the mist is encroaching on viewer, coming to surround them in a terrifying manner.

Ernst Haas immigrated to New York City in 1951, where he worked for Life magazine on a project called “Images of Magic City”. He photographed mostly documentary style and had an overwhelming influence on generations of photographers through essays as well as his photographs. While the image I chose is black and white, he also photographed beautifully in color. Before he found photography he attempted medical school before becoming a painter and discovering photography. He was a man with appreciation for all art forms and believed photography went beyond taking pictures and into a form of poetic expression.

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