Ernst Haas is considered one of the pioneers of color photography and one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Taking up photography after World War II, his early work on the returning prisoners of war caught the attention of LIFE magazine. Haas later declined their job offer as a staff photographer, deciding that he did not want to be limited by the magazine’s restrictive scope. Instead, in 1949, he joined the international photographic cooperative Magnum Photos at the invitation of another acclaimed photographer, Robert Capa. In 1953, his groundbreaking 24-page photo essay on New York City in color was published by LIFE.
Crowds on a street.
Below are 25 vintage photographs of the city, its people and life during the 1950s, taken in black and white Haas:
A man bends down to examine an item in a shop window.
Two couples on the deck of a ferry.
A young woman rests against her boyfriend on the deck of a ferry.