Stunning new book presents iconic vintage images of the American West

Iconic images of the American West – from magnificent canyons to galloping wild horses

  • Ernst Haas: The American West, written by Paul Lowe, showcases the work of late photographer Ernst Haas 
  • His images, captured in the mid-to-late 20th century, document U.S cultural and geographic landscapes
  • The book ‘offers a vision of America that feels both poignantly distant and reassuringly familiar’

Take a step back into the American West of bygone times, courtesy of this fascinating new book.

Ernst Haas: The American West, written by Paul Lowe and published by Prestel, is an eye-opening compendium of vintage photographs of western America, captured by the late photographer and photojournalist Ernst Haas.

Having already established himself as a talented black-and-white photographer in Europe, the Austrian photographer moved to America in 1951 and soon earned a reputation for taking iconic colour photographs of geographic and cultural landscapes in the U.S. 

The book delves into the archives of both his black-and-white and colour photography of the mid-to-late 20th century, showcasing spectacular images of scenes that include the bright lights of Route 66, enormous Arizonan canyons and rows of cowgirls in New Mexico.

In the introduction to the book, photography lecturer Lowe writes: ‘This book charts Ernst Haas‘ 34-year love affair with the myth and the reality of the American West. Haas celebrated the grandeur of the landscape, but also critiqued the excesses of American culture, and found solace in the traditions of the Native Americans. Haas used his extraordinary command of colour to great effect.’

And the publisher notes: ‘The remarkable book offers a vision of America that feels both poignantly distant and reassuringly familiar.’ Below are photographs from the book that encapsulate this vision…

This richly-coloured 1969 photograph, titled Route 66 Albuquerque, shows traffic on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, following a heavy downpour

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Captured in August 1977, this awe-inspiring photograph by Haas shows Arizona’s Spider Rock casting its shadow in the Canyon de Chelly. It’s titled Rock Mountain

A buffalo seeks shelter under trees during a snowstorm in Yellowstone National Park in this evocative 1966 picture by Haas, titled Buffalo Winter 

Titled Flood Lands, this mesmerising photograph, taken in 1963, shows a section of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Utah

Taken in 1978, this dynamic picture of wild horses galloping across the countryside is titled Free Spirits

This curious 1960 photograph shows a house being transported by a trailer along a Nevada road. Haas titled the shot Snail’s Pace 

LEFT: This striking picture shows a little girl in Native American dress standing in front of a Plymouth Valiant car and a teepee in Seattle, Washington State, in 1975. Haas named the shot Seattle Settlement. RIGHT: Titled TV and Shadows, this beautifully-lit picture depicts a television set by a window in California, circa 1975

Titled Cowgirls in Santa Fe, this eye-catching photograph shows a row of five young women wearing identical cowboy hats in New Mexico in 1952 

In this epic 1960 photograph, Haas has captured an aerial view of cloud and rock formations in western America

Ernst Haas: The American West, written by Paul Lowe and published by Prestel, is on sale now for £36 ($55) from bookshops and online retailers (ISBN: 978-3-7913-8825-0)

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