Interpreting Fred Herzog - An Early Color Photographer

Going left when I'm trying to turn right

//So I'm prefacing the photos before we get into them. Hope you don't mind.//

Bill Cunningham, Fan Ho, Rodney Smith, Fred Ward, & Marc Riboud.

If you are a photographer or creative chances are you may have heard these names recently spoken with adoration - and remembrance. The year 2016 was not only an interesting year for political reasons, but the world of photographic artistry certainly saw some changes, or rather losses, in its community. The artists above were just a handful of many that breathed their last and in some cases, left us all too soon.

As part of an assignment for the online workshop FIND In a Box, we were asked to emulate our favorite photographers, past or present. We were instructed to look deep into the process behind their works, try to understand their ideas, and then recreate them or shoot a piece similar to their design. For my work, I chose the fantastic Fred Herzog to interpret. Like many of his peers, Herzog is a photographer from a definitive and bygone era of experimental work with early color film. 

I noticed a very interesting thing when I received these film scans back. Rather than resemble the work of my chosen artist, they appeared more and more to be influenced by the works of a different photographer: Saul Leiter. Another early colorist, Leiter opted for a more abstract approach to his compositions favoring reflections and soft focus, among other techniques, to tell a story. 

Before we get to the images, of which I'll share Herzog's work before comparing my own, remember that this photographer took color photos in a time when black and white was the de facto choice for professional as well as respectable work. Since then, he has left an impact on countless photographers worldwide. If you'd like to learn more, check out this video essay by Ted Forbes

And yes, Fred is very much still living and shoots in his hometown Vancouver with a little M43 camera. While he isn't getting any younger, his work will continue to live on and inspire. 


 

Fred Herzog

Yours truly

All photos taken in Denver, Colorado with a Nikon F100, Contax 50mm F1.4 & Nikon 35mm F2D on Fujicolor 200. Developed and scanned by The FIND Lab.