Fred Herzog, Pioneering Street Photography

Fred Herzog, Pioneering Street Photography

Anyone with more than a passing interest in photography will be aware of the latest buzz word: authenticity.  Whilst inferring a world full of unposed potential, one look at Instagram makes it quite obvious the resulting photography is anything but authentic.  We are subjected to a never ending supply of overly similar images, all inspired by the latest trend.

Main Barber 1968, Copyright Fred Herzog and Equinox Gallery.

Main Barber 1968, Copyright Fred Herzog and Equinox Gallery.

If you really wanted to see some authentic photographic work, then look no further than Fred Herzog, and his colour photography from the 1950's to the late 1980's. Considered a pioneer of colour photography, Herzog spent many years documenting the urban west coast of Canada with Kodachrome film loaded in his Leica M3. Although Herzog worked as the Head of Photography at the University of British Columbia, and so technically an amateur photographer, he has given us a catalogue of over 100,000 images which can only be considered the work of a true professional.

Boat Scrapers 1964, Copyright Fred Herzog and Equinox Gallery.

Boat Scrapers 1964, Copyright Fred Herzog and Equinox Gallery.

Herzog was concerned with photographing real, unadulterated life, including streets, sidewalks, shop windows, advertisements, parking lots, and courtyards - sometimes empty of life, at other times, populated by a random passersby.  Anyone familiar with the work of Saul Leiter will instantly feel the connection, although Leiter was prolific south of the border in the US, the similarities are clear. The abstracts, the colours, and the feeling a innocence in an urban environment all mean that if you are a fan of Leiter's work, then you will almost certainly appreciate Herzog's contribution to photography.

The book 'Fred Herzog, Modern Color' is available at Amazon UK, or Amazon US.