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Fred Herzog (21 September 1930 – 9 September 2019)[1] was a Canadian photographer, known for his photographs of working class people and their connections to the city around them in Vancouver, British Columbia. Herzog was one of the pioneers of artistic colour photography.[2] He achieved moderate success earlier in his career, however his first major exhibition was at Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007, after which he produced a number of books.

Fred Herzog
Born(1930-09-21)September 21, 1930
DiedSeptember 9, 2019(2019-09-09) (aged 88)
Known forPhotographs of working class people and their connections to the city around them in Vancouver
AwardsAudain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts

Herzog worked professionally as a medical photographer.[3] He was the associate director of the UBC Department of Biomedical Communication, and also taught at Simon Fraser University.

Life and workEdit

Herzog was born and grew up in Stuttgart, Germany,[3] but was evacuated from the city during the aerial bombardment of the Second World War. His parents died during the war (of typhoid and cancer),[1] after which he dropped out of school and found work as a seaman on ships. He emigrated to Canada[3] in 1952, living briefly in Toronto and Montreal before moving to Vancouver in 1953. He had taken casual photos since childhood, and began to take photography seriously after moving to Canada.

His personal work focuses primarily on working class people, and their connections to the city around them. He worked with slide film (mostly Kodachrome), which limited his ability to exhibit, and also marginalized him somewhat as an artist in the 1950s and 1960s when most work was in black and white. However, he has latterly been recognized as one of the pioneers of artistic colour photography.[3][4][5][6]

In a 2012 Globe and Mail article Herzog referred to the Holocaust as "the so-called Holocaust."[7] He also said:

That there was a principle injustice, and [that it was] indefensible by any standards – that, I have no trouble about. But that people were in such numbers gassed and gotten rid of – that is disputed, depending on where you come from. I don't dispute it, because I have a relative in Germany who used to be the personnel manager of the city where I come from, and he says he has seen the evidence, that he's seen the hardware that was used to gas people. But there were other books I have read which say much of this was actually delousing. The rooms with the gas were actually delousing rooms, because lice were one of the biggest problems and the biggest killers of Jews in the camps. So it's something I'd like to see a little bit more carefully, you know, collected: evidence and how the numbers are arrived [at]. That people were needlessly killed, there's no doubt. That people died on trains being transported is fact. That people died of hunger at the end of the war is fact. But many people, nine million Germans, were thrown out of wherever they lived. Nine million, and with no place to go. And many of those died of hunger and what not.[7]

Later in the interview Herzog said he should not have used the phrase "so-called Holocaust." But he said he still had doubts about the genocide.

I cannot convincingly say I think everything about it was the way it's being described. That's why I say 'so-called,' and I should not have said that. But what it says, there are some doubts in my mind that the real story is being told.[7]

Herzog died on 9 September 2019 at age 88.[8]


  • Fred Herzog: Vancouver Photographs. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre; Vancouver Art Gallery, 2007. ISBN 9781553652557. Edited by Grant Arnold and Michael Turner.
  • Fred Herzog: Photographs. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2011. ISBN 978-1553655589. With essays by Claudia Gochmann, Sarah Milroy, Jeff Wall and Douglas Coupland.
  • Fred Herzog: Photographs. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2011. ISBN 9783775728119. Curated by Stephen Waddell and Felix Hoffmann and edited by Hoffmann. Text in English and German.
  • Modern Color. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2017. ISBN 978-3775741811. With essays by David Campany and Hans-Michael Koetzle.




  1. ^ a b "Shadows On Film: Fred Herzog". Faded and Blurred. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Leica: the camera that freed the world – in pictures". The Guardian. 13 July 2017. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 September 2018 – via
  3. ^ a b c d Bicker, Phil. "Vancouver Vanguard: Fred Herzog's Early Color Street Photographs". Time. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  4. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (19 November 2017). "William Eggleston: 'The music's here then it's gone – like a dream'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  5. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (16 December 2012). "The best photography of 2012: Sean O'Hagan's choice". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  6. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (7 November 2012). "Henri Cartier-Bresson: who can beat the master of monochrome?". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Lederman, Marsha (5 May 2012). "The collision: Fred Herzog, the Holocaust and me". The Globe and Mail.
  8. ^ Griffin, Kevin (10 September 2019). "Noted Vancouver photographer Fred Herzog dies at age 88". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Vancouver Art Gallery". Vancouver Art Gallery. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  10. ^ "Canada 150: Fred Herzog, colourful street photographer". Vancouver Sun. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Fred Herzog wins Audain Prize". National Post. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Photographer Fred Herzog wins Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts". The Georgia Straight. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Fred Herzog wins Audain Prize". The Vancouver Sun. 24 November 2001. Retrieved 21 March 2017.

External linksEdit