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Fred Herzog: Modern Color Hardcover – February 28, 2017
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Fred Herzog might not be a household name in the photography world, but his work holds its own against the likes of Walker Evans and William Eggleston, two photographers with whom Herzog shares an aesthetic.... Herzog offers up a body of street photography created before it was a recognized genre. (Ann Hermes Christian Science Monitor)
About the Author
Fred Herzog (born 1930 in Germany) arrived in Vancouver in 1953. Professionally employed as a medical photographer, he spent his evenings and weekends photographing the city and its inhabitants in vibrant color. Though he has been working prolifically since the 1950s, Herzog was relatively unknown until a major retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007 brought his work to a wider public. Digital inkjet printing has enabled Herzog to finally satisfactorily make prints from his slides and exhibit his important early color street photography.
Top customer reviews
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This is masterful color work, quiet, unassuming; extraordinary pictures of ordinary daily life, shot as I understand, for personal pleasure rather than professional practice.
I usually just skim the verbiage in a photo book as it is extraneous to the work itself, and is not as a rule helpful for me to know what I am looking at. But the accompanying essays--there are three-- in Modern Color are actually pertinent and informative.
This is a well conceived, excellently presented package of visual joy; highly recommended.
It's the color in these photos that fascinated me. Herzog used Kodachrome slide film and the colors have a warmth and maturity that definitely adds to their beauty, especially the incredibly vibrant reds and oranges. The only other photo book I've seen with pictures from the past, that has this richness of color is 'Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939-43' with images from the well known FSA/OWI photographers.
Herzog was experimenting with color long before it became accepted, in the mid-seventies, as a serious photographic form. The Vancouver color photos are all street scenes showing everyday life with traffic, shoppers, sides of buildings, and lots of signs. He says that the work of Walker Evans influenced him especially the 'American photographs' book and of course Robert Frank. There are many shots that are saturated with signage typography and Vancouver did a nice line in gigantic upright neon signs spelling out the name of movie houses, a sort of electronic DayGlo.
I believe the 230 photos includes the ninety-two in the 2011 book and there are some black and whites also. David Campany makes an interesting point in his essay: 'With great consistency he averaged two films a week. That amounts to well over 100,000 exposures'. I'm hoping that means more books of Herzog's photos. My only very minor criticism is that I would have preferred to have all the Vancouver shots as one chapter and the work from other cities and countries as another.
I think it's worth commenting on how inexpensive this thick book is, printed on a good matt art with a 175 screen, from other art book publishers it would cost a lot more, even at full price it's a bargain.
I've looked at a lot of photography books recently and "Modern Color" sits right at the top of my favorites.
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