People / Fred Herzog

Artist, educator. Born in Bad Friedrichshall, Germany in 1930, Fred Herzog immigrated to Canada in 1952, arriving in Toronto. Herzog picked up a camera when still in Germany and is largely self-taught, though he notes the importance of his relationship with Ferro Marincowitz—a medical photographer Herzog met on his first day in Toronto—and the influence of Walker Evans and Robert Frank. After arriving in Vancouver in 1953, Herzog worked on ships and began to experiment with color photography. He found work as a medical photographer at St. Paul’s Hospital in 1957 and he was the head of the Photo/Cine Division at the Department of Biomedical Communications at the University of British Columbia by 1961. Herzog worked for the department for twenty-nine years, eventually overseeing sixty employees. He began practicing the style of street photography he is known for in 1957. Recurrent motifs in his works are cars, interpreted as an emblem of destructive consumption, and radios and televisions, which inhibit reflection and are a threat to democratic participation.

He has taught photography in the Department of Fine Arts at Simon Fraser University (1967-69) and later the University of British Columbia (1969-1974). His work has been exhibited in several solo and group shows, including at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the University of British Columbia Fine Arts Gallery, Presentation House Gallery, Equinox Gallery, Laurence Miller Gallery (New York), and the Canadien Centre Culturel (Paris). A large retrospective of his work was held at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007. He is the recipient of awards for medical photography and film and a Canada Council Grant. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, Vancouver General Hospital and University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation, the National Film Board, and Library and Archives Canada.
Additional information and materials about Fred Herzog are available on request in Art, Architecture and Planning at the University of British Columbia Library.