26 March 2017

Rain Blossoms: The Waters of March

Drops of water pearled on pale blue flowers ... rain blossoms.   In March all flowers drip with rain  but capturing the phenomenon in photographs requires a deft touch.  The Viennese photographer Ernst Haas (1921-1986) was an early enthusiast of color photography, a medium he discovered shortly after he moved to the United States in 1951.  Haas became  a member of the Magnum Agency in 1949, the same year as that other underappreciated photographer, the Swiss Werner Bischof (1916-1954).  

Unlike some of his contemporaries who turned their noses up at color, considering Kodachrome a dirty word, Haas quickly became adroit at catching temporary effects, becoming the first photographer to receive a solo exhibition of his color work at the Museum of Modern art in New York City in 1962; there would not be a second such show for another fourteen years.  Prejudices, however baseless or silly, fade slowly.  Just look at the Cosmo (below), its rain-drenched petals mimicking the shape of an iris for a moment.
The Errant Aesthete, subtitled Essentials for the Cocktail-swilling Set, was a website that  often featured the work of Ernst Hass, and although the website no longer publishes, you can still  explore Suzanne's archives.

1. Ernst Haas - untitled, date not given, Ernst Haas Estate.


Rouchswalwe said...

Ahh, beautiful!

Jane said...

Happy spring, Rouchswalwe. I liked the idea of rain blossoms immediately. Flowers are never wasted in nature, even on rainy days.

Some photographers looked askance at color film at the time Haas began using it; they considered it less "pure" than black and white. They ignored that in the human eye, rods are sensitive to color and cones can register images in tones of black, white, and grey.

Let a thousand flowers bloom.

Rouchswalwe said...

I'll drink to that, dearest Jane. Prost to letting a thousand flowers bloom in brilliant colour!

Jane said...

The exact quote is from a speech by Mao Zedong; I actually prefer the misquotation "Let a thousandths flowers bloom."
Here's the original:
"Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land."
For what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

thanks you so much
for sharing :D

Jane said...

You're welcome, Manho. Looking at photographs like these, it's difficult to understand the objections to this color film. Kodachrome did get used to some garish ends at times, but what medium doesn't? Can't you almost feel the raindrops dripping off the images onto your fingertips?