Ernst Haas
[Photographer, b. 1921, Vienna, Austria, d. 1986, New York City.]

 Women held bleached-out photographs in the air to the new arrivals. “Do you know him? Have you seen my son?” They called out the names of their men. Children with pictures of fathers they had never seen compared the photographs with the faces of the arrivals. It was almost too much. I staggered home as if in a trance. (On photographing the return of WWII prisoners from the camps in eastern Europe.) 
 A few words about the question of whether photography is art or not: I never understood the question. 
 In every artist there is poetry. In every human being there is the poetic element. We know, we feel, we believe… one cannot photograph art. One can only live it in the unity of his vision, as well as in the breadth of his humanity, vitality, and understanding. There is no formula—only man with his conscience speaking, writing, and singing in the new hieroglyphic language of light and time. 
 My theory of composition? Simple: do not release the shutter until everything in the viewfinder feels just right. 
 Stray dogs are for [Elliot Erwitt] a special object. He can find in them the lonely, grim life that reflects tremendously his feelings for humanity. 
 The best pictures differentiate themselves by nuances... a tiny relationship—either a harmony or a disharmony—that creates a picture. 
 The reporter is someone in a trench coat with a rakishly upturned collar, who runs after events, wants to capture facts, narrates, reports on so-called reality. To be honest, I’m not too interested in facts. My issues are more of an artistic nature. These are rather more the problems of the painter. I’m a painter who was too impatient to paint, and therefore became a photographer. 
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