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Fred Herzog's Vancouver profiled in new Audain show

light and the shadows of everyday life in photos

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Photographer Fred Herzog started shooting street scenes in Vancouver in 1953.

And today, aged 85, he still does.

In the decades between and thousands of images later, Herzog has established himself as a leading member of the city's vibrant photographic art scene, capturing at first the people, architecture and moods of his adopted hometown (he moved to Canada from postwar Stuttgart) and later travelling around the world with the same purpose of taking street photos.

Now 18 of those works, loaned by the Equinox Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery, are going on show at the Audain Art Museum, the first time they have all been exhibited together.

The Audain's new touring show, Fred Herzog: Shadowlands, runs from January 21 to May 22.

"His work connects with the photography we already have here," says chief curator Darrin Martens.

Martens said that Herzog's work showing alongside the museum's permanent collection pieces by photo-conceptualists Jeff Wall, Christos Dikeakos and Stan Douglas created an opportunity for visitors to make comparisons between the collection and the touring show.

"Herzog's photography is a marvellous part of Vancouver's contribution to art photography. And as a B.C. artist, it is a wonderful opportunity to show off his work."

Martens pulled together the exhibition, selecting images that contrasted darkness and light, with the photographer's trademark complexity and sense of humanity.

"They capture unique moments in time, in history," Martens says.

He notes that the works are all in colour.

"When Fred was taking these photos, colour photography was verboten in art. Black and white was the preferred medium," he says.

For 30 years from the late 1950s, Herzog worked as a medical photographer, becoming the head of the photo division of the Department of Biomedical Communications at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

His creative work accelerated after his retirement.

Since the 1990s Fred Herzog's photos have been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally in important solo and group exhibitions.

His work is also in prominent collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

In 2014, Herzog received the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts. Prior to this award he received an honorary doctorate from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2010 and a City of Vancouver Heritage Award in 2009.

Sophie Brodovich of Vancouver's Equinox Gallery says Herzog has not been involved in the creation of the exhibition, but he has been kept aware of it and is thrilled to see his work at the Audain.

She could not confirm if he would be attending the opening of the show, but said he hoped to.

Admission to Fred Herzog: Shadowlands is covered by the general admission to the Audain Art Gallery. For more information, visit www.audainartmuseum.com.

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