Laurence Miller Gallery presents Fred Herzog: Modern Color, our fourth solo exhibition of Herzog’s work, following the release last year of his latest monograph with the same title.
Herzog has been photographing in Vancouver since 1953, making images awash with vibrant color – complex, mysterious, exuberant, and full of life, much like the city he photographed. As David Campany noted in his introduction to the book, Herzog “observed the grain of that city as it lived, worked, played, and changed . . . . Few other bodies of photography in the history of the medium have come close to the richness of Herzog’s extended city portrait.”
Herzog was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1930, and immigrated to Canada in 1952. He worked as a medical photographer by day, but on evenings and weekends he took to the streets with his camera, documenting daily life as he observed it. Focusing his camera on storefronts, neon signs, billboards, cafes, and crowds of people, he eloquently depicts the architecture of the street as a framework for human interaction. Working in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Herzog was early in the field of color photography, at a time when most fine art photographers were producing only black and white imagery. His use of Kodachrome color slide film, however, limited his ability to make exhibition-quality prints. It was only with the advent of modern digital pigment printing techniques that he was finally able to print and exhibit this important body of early street photography.
Herzog had his first major museum exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007. Since then, he has had solo shows at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary; the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto; the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa; the C/O Berlin Foundation in Berlin; and the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris. In 2015, his images were shown in Eyes Wide Open! 100 Years of Leica Photography, which opened at the Haus der Photographie in Hamburg and then travelled to four more venues in Germany and Austria. In 2014, he received the prestigious Audain Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery. His photographs are in the collections of many Canadian museums, as well as many corporate and private collections, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Pier 24 in San Francisco, and the Martin Margulies collection in Miami.