Fred Herzog Vs 75 cent Goulash.

As part of my feed back Jane gave me some suggestions for photographers to view. To read about and research. One of these was Fred Herzog. I searched for him on the internet and finally got a hold of a book of his prints. And I found a wonderful interview with him at Emily Carr University. He talks beautifully about images and processes. Very down to earth. This is a good thing. Quite and gentle.

Fred Herzog belongs to a group of photographers (Saul Leiter and Inge Morath) who almost took colour before colour was invented….. Before Shore and Eggleston…almost seem to have invented it

New to Vancouver he wanted to use his camera to discover & preserve his impression of the city. Post war culture. During change and development….. pictures of things disappearing.

He used Kodachrome slide film. (hints toward adverts & amateurs) difficult to process at home. Low ISO. Pictures metered for highlights.

Images shown as slide shows.

Interested in light and its effect on colour within the world.

Although took mostly colour images he still drew on photographers who used b&w. Robert Frank’s “The Americans” impressed him greatly. It supported his interest in social issues and his experimentation.

Colours provide separations and provide layers. Clarifying & amplifying.

Colours are warm….glowing…almost supernatural. Although warm they are set against a coldness, a wetness. A cold wet landscape (Autumnal to Winter) These warm colours sit against this landscape. Studies in scarlet…in reds of all degrees. (a large % anyways). Colours are almost dizzying. Are they too much? Pictures are beautiful…but that constant red????

Subjects: Pleasant decay/streets/shops/people/windows/low light. Also colour. Contrasts old and new. Places that seem out of time. Shocking new details clashing with the new. Ordinary things. Adverts.

(The 75 cent goulash is from the the interview in case you wondered)

Images often shot from the hip. Getting around shooting people. from the hip looking up as if at a bird. Influenced by films and visual magpie eyes.

“Take street pictures because it hones your instincts for speed, for quick composition, for [inaudible]. But above all what you bring in your mind to the scene is what makes your picture. If you don’t read, if you don’t have discussions with enlightened friends, you do not get there. There is a saying about seeing: Only a few people can see but most people don’t even look. And that says a lot to me. You can only see if you have something in your mind to bring to the picture. The camera is just the least important adjunct to your ideas. Your observations are important because they’re you. The camera is just a gadget you can carry on in your hand or around your neck or on a tripod.”

“Who says I didn’t learn a lot from the movies? Absolutely. You know, what we put into our pictures is not a smart idea. What we put into our pictures is our whole life and our whole intellectual discourse. Everything we know and everything we have done and everything that’s in our history goes into every single picture we take. Have you ever thought of that? That’s how it is.”

“Only a few people can see, but most people don’t even look.”


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Filed under October 2011, Readings

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