The beautiful thing about photography is that when I shoot, I can create my own world.
Ever since its invention back in the 19th century, photography has been documenting life. At the same time, it focuses on inviting audiences to a rather subjective world, while trying to be taken seriously as an art form. Photography has always been considered a male-dominated profession, but luckily things are changing. Scholars, writers, bloggers, photography students, and enthusiasts have been giving due to the female pioneers of the field. Most of them were always standing and/or hiding in the shadows, oblivious to how much they could acclaim and accomplish. Arguably, the techniques, concepts, and thematic female photographers use differ from those of male photographers. At a time when most women were convinced that their place was in the kitchen and certainly not in the dark room, some were struggling to surpass their male counterparts and work towards gaining respect and recognition for their work.
Esther Haase (German photographer, 1966-) was born in Bremen, the first daughter of an artist and a photography and design professor. She grew up surrounded by the world of photography. After professional training in modern dance, Esther spent two years on-stage before studying graphic design with a focus on photography at the University of the Arts in Bremen. Whilst studying, Haase was a trainee at the art department of Men's Vogue in Munich.
After graduation, she moved to Berlin and started working internationally as a freelance photographer. Ever since then, she has been working as a professional full-time photographer. International commercial and editorial clients, exhibitions, awards, and published books including Esther Haase: Fotografien 1997-2006, Rock'n Old. Heidelberg, Short Stories II, and more have all contributed to her growing success. Her work has been exhibited in prestige museums and galleries such as Camera Work Berlin, Fotografiska Stockholm, Büro Oberstdorfer Fotogipfel, and various Leica Galleries around Europe. Amongst the photographer's clients are Elle, Vanity Fair, Vogue India, and Madame Figaro.
Her portfolio includes portraits of Karl Lagerfeld, Diane Kruger, Franka Potente, Dita von Teese, Jessica Alba, Rita Ora, Anna Netrebko, Angela Merkel, Anna Piaggi, Hildegard Knef, as well as designers such as Domenico Dolce and Stephany Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood and Roberto Cavalli. Her collaboration with major brands, creating their advertisements and campaigns, includes Moët & Chandon, Chopard, Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz. Haase's empowering and glamorous work mirrors her passion for photography. No matter if beautifully sculpted in black and white or richly filled with colors that pop, her energy and liveliness truly translate to her pictures. Her body of work is permeated by a particular lightness; the women come across as cheerful and larksome, yet they are always self-determined and strong, sexy, and stylish.
For Esther Haase, it simply has to do with telling stories. Some images seem like cinematic dreams, while others are baroque stagings, and still other comical snapshots. In 2023, Haase was inducted into the BFF Hall of Fame together with Dutch photographer and director Anton Corbijn. Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart hosted the exhibition of the two honorary members, a newly curated BFF members' exhibition, and a symposium by the BFF Academy.
When I'm shooting a portrait of someone, I have to be ready to fall in love. I have to be ready to recognize that person and make them feel confident and proud to reflect that into an image.
We will continue talking about female names that left their mark on photography and about contemporary female photographers who are still to emerge. There are a lot of female photographers out there deserving of praise and we can only hope to cover as many of them as we can. Please follow this space to find out more.