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. He began his experiments with Kodachrome color film soon after moving to the United States. In 1953, his groundbreaking 24-page photo essay on New York City in color was published by LIFE.
Pedestrians weave their way through traffic.
Below are 26 stunning vintage color photographs capture the city in the 1950s by Haas:
A homeless man searches through trash cans for something to eat while 3 women behind carrying laden shopping bags.
Blurred shot of people and traffic.
A vendor waits in his car by the paintings he has for sale which are displayed on a sidewalk wall.