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Fred Herzog: Modern Color

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In this regard, his photography can be seen as a precursor to the New Color photographers of the 1970s. The real pioneer of the medium seems to change depending on whom you ask (most people, perhaps rightly, would say William Eggleston) but let’s allow some space for another name: Fred Herzog. In this respect, his photographs can be seen as a prototype for the New Color photographers of the 1970s. Until that point, so few photographers had taken up the idea of simply touring the everyday streets and capturing what they saw.

Professionally employed as a medical photographer, he spent his evenings and weekends photographing the city and its inhabitants in vibrant color. This monograph brings together more than 230 recordings, many of which have never been reproduced before, and also includes contributions from celebrated authors such as David Campany and Hans-Michael Koetzle. They come from that process of walking and that intuitive, deductive reasoning of where to be and how to take a picture when you’re there,” said Andy Sylvester, owner of the Equinox Gallery in Vancouver. In this respect, his photographs can be seen as prefiguring the New Color photographers of the 1970s.

This book will bring together over 230 images, many never before reproduced, and will feature essays by acclaimed authors David Campany and Hans-Michael Koetzle.

By taking color rather than black and white photographs, he made his street scenes seem much more modern. For over fifty years, the Canadian photographer exclusively used Kodachrome slide film, and only in the last decade have advances in technology enabled the production of archival pigment prints that faithfully match the remarkable color and vibrancy of the Kodachrome slides. Herzog’s big breakout occurred late in life when The Vancouver Art Gallery held the first major retrospective of his work in 2007: Fred Herzog Vancouver Photographs curated by Grant Arnold. Scenes of society in the macrocosm, rather than showing us nothing, showed us everything: race relations, urban alienation, gender politics and class distinctions. Fred Herzog is known for his unusual use of color in the 1950s and 1960s, a time when art photography was almost exclusively associated with black and white imagery.And a lot of English gentlemen did serious and beautiful photography… But I didn’t have time for that. In this respect, his photographs can be seen as an early indication of the "New Color" photographers of the seventies.

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