Nat Herz, Photographer and Writer, 1920-1964
Nat Herz was a major 20th century photographer. He was a poet, writer, teacher, and a dedicated civil rights activist. He was one of the first persons in history to see the value of Aesthetic Realism. He cared for this philosophy deeply, and used it in his life and work.
A man of enormous energy, Herz wrote voluminously throughout his short life: poems, articles, letters, and a one act play- many of which were published. His photographs and articles were widely published and exhibited during his lifetime.
In 1994, his widow Barbara Singer reintroduced his work to the public. Photographs from his major book, With the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom August 28, 1963 were shown at an exhibition at the Howard Greenberg Gallery. Since then, they have been frequently published and exhibited in the U.S. and abroad.
Ms. Singer published Herz's poems, illustrated by the noted surealist Kurt Seligmann, in a livre d'artiste called The Impossible Landscapes of Nat Herz and Kurt Seligmann. In 1999, this book accompanied an exhibition at the Hirschl & Adler Gallery of Seligmann's drawings, Herz's poems and surrealist photographs taken in the 1950's and 60'.
A statement written by Nat Herz to accompany a portfolio of his photographs in Infinity magazine, April 1964, perhaps best articulates his purpose as a person and artist:
"For me, photography is the art of reality-as-it happens. I have wanted to be closer to this. I have wanted to be true to my deepest self as I used the camera to find form in the external world with its seeming muddle of beauty and ugliness, humor and despair, majesty and triviality. I have come closer to these ends, in fact recognized them as goals, through studying the philosophy of Aesthetic Realism with its founder Eli Siegel. I have lingered on the meaning of the Siegel Theory of Opposites as it is embodied in his fifteen questions: "Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?" and it has paid off. I have learned something of what it means to try to love reality-no easy thing. I have wanted to get at the beauty of the world through a finely-tooled machine. And I have been mightily encouraged in this difficult art-no small thing.
"For me, there is nothing more thrilling in photography than when in the viewfinder, reality-as-it-happens takes on a permanent, perhaps infinite, form. Every good photograph is a celebration, a praise of the external world through a proud photographer's eyes. I have wanted to see into the heart of reality-as-it-happens. I have waited patiently within the changing light of the everyday world. I have wanted to approach that place with love within the second's fraction where the opposites of beauty and ugliness meet and are one."
Since 1994, Herz's work has been widely published in magazines, books, videos, and on the web. He is represented by the Stephen Daiter Gallery in Chicago, The Bridgeman Art Library International, and Getty Images.
Prints are available for sale from:
Stephen Daiter Gallery
Barbara Singer Productions
Images are available for stock licensing from:
The Bridgeman Art Library International Ltd.
Barbara Singer Productions