Author Tags: Photography

"I've taken photographs in colour for fifty-five years, and I'm still doing it with considerable motivation." -- Fred Herzog

With 80,000 images of Vancouver taken during the past half-century, Fred Herzog is the city’s premier street photographer, having focussed on store fronts, cafes, barber shops, pedestrians, cars, signs since his emigration from Germany in 1952. "It was my goal from the start to show city vitality," he says. His mostly colour images suggest Vancouver was a more vibrant and unself-conscious city in Fifties and Sixties when it was bustling burg in which the working class could still afford to live.

Replete with vacant lots, abandoned cars and bygone signage, his images invite the adjective authentic, but his own website puts it best. “The images are not about important people, events or edifices, but about the vitality of the city, its ambience, and the daily activities of the people. Also their dress, automobiles and recreation, and the pride with which they participate and enjoy human contact.”

Herzog came to Vancouver in 1953 and worked on ships for three years before making his living primarily as a medical photographer. "My present style of street photography was formed in spring 1957 with a bang," he says, "practically complete from day one." He sold his first print in 1970. Since then he has prodigiously thrived in relative obscurity before finally hitting it big. Now officially represented by the Equinox Gallery, Herzog catapulted into the public eye with a major January-to-May exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery and an accompanying coffee table book, Fred Herzog: Vancouver Photographs (D&M $45), with textual contributions from Grant Arnold and Michael Turner. It was shortlisted for the BC Booksellers Choice Award and the City of Vancouver Book Prize.

Bogner's Grocery, a 1960 photograph by Fred Herzog, was among works by seven master Canadian photographers featured in a stamp series issued by Canada Post in 2014.

"I never went to school to learn photography--not a single day," he says.


Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
Fred Herzog: Photographs by Fred Herzog

[Robert Keziere photo]

[BCBW 2007] "Photography"

Fred Herzog
Biographical summary

1930 Born in Germany
1952 Immigration to Canada
1953 Earliest colour slides of Vancouver
1957 Began with photographic documentation of Vancouver and other cities in North America.

1957 - 1961 Medical Photographer, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC
1961 - 1990 Head, Photo/Cine Division, Department of Biomedical Communications, University of British Columbia
1970 - 1990 Department Associate Director, Staff of 60 employees
1967 - 1969 Instructional Specialist, Fine Arts Department, Simon Fraser University
1969 - 1974 Instructor, Fine Arts Department, University of British Columbia

1967 "Vancouver Between the Eyes", Vancouver Art Gallery (Participation)
1968 1st Prize CMA Medical Photography Competition (Canadian Medical Association)
Multimedia Event, Vancouver Art Gallery (Participation)
1969 Canada Council Grant
Worked with Ian Baxter on Project "Piles". Photos were shown in the 1990s at the Catriona Jeffries Fine Art Gallery.
1970 "Extensions", UBC Art Gallery (3-man show). Subsequently shown at the National Art Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and it travelled across the country under the auspices of the National Art Gallery.
1971 "Silkscreen Prints", Vancouver Art Gallery (Participation)
1972 Mind's Eye Gallery, Vancouver, BC(One-man show)
1974 "Blind Child", 1st Prize Best Motion Picture (130 entries) HEMA/HeSCA International Film Competition, US
1985 William V. Gordon Award for Outstanding Achievements in Medical Photography, Ottawa
1986 "In Transition - Postwar Photography in Vancouver", Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, BC. Curator: Helga Pakasar (Participation)
1993 12 large Cibachromes, J. J. Herman Gallery. Sponsor: Beautiful BC Magazine
1994 "The Just Past of Photography", Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, BC
New Cibachromes, Photobase Gallery, Vancouver, BC (Participation)
Cibachromes of Vancouver, Graham Milne Gallery, Vancouver, BC (One-man show)
2001 "The History of Photography", 4 photographs in the "Vancouver Collects" show, Vancouver Art Gallery
2003 "Unfinished Business", Street photography in Vancouver between 1955 and 1986, Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, BC (Participation)

1976 "The City of Vancouver", 50 photographs, J. J. Douglas, Vancouver, BC (Participation)
1993 "Vancouver, Vision of a City", 36 photographs (Participation)
1996 "Vancouver, The Art of Living Well", 27 photographs (Participation)
Many other books (Contributions)
2007 Fred Herzog Vancouver Photographs (D&M 2007)