Ferenc Haar

1908–1997

Francis (Ferenc) Haar (American, born Hungarian,1908-1997) studied interior design between 1924 and 1927 in Budapest, and started experimenting with photography. From 1928 onwards, Haar worked as an interior designer and poster designer, and in 1930 he became acquainted with the Munka-kör (Work Circle) led by socialist avant-garde poet and visual artist Lajos Kassák, who had just returned from Vienna. In 1934, he opened his first photo studio in Budapest. Some of his photos were exhibited in Paris in 1937, so Haar decided to move to Paris where he established himself as a portrait photographer. Only two years later, Haar was invited to travel to Japan by Hiroshi Kawazoe. Haar decided to stay and with the help of Japanese friends he opened and operated his own photo studio in Tokyo between 1940 and 1942. The Haar family was evacuated to Karuizawa in 1943, and stayed there until 1946. During this time he became the photographer of a magazine of the U.S. occupation forces in Japan, and subsequently turned filmmaker with the U.S. Public Health and Welfare Section (1946–48). His Tokyo photo studio was re-opened in 1946, and was in business until 1956. In 1960, the Haar family moved to Hawai’i, where Haar started his own studio and taught photography at the University of Hawai’i between 1965 and 1985.