Herman Surkis | About

Some video interviews:








Nonvideo link is:


Professional photographer, now shooting for my own pleasure, and is there a better reason.

From 1967-1983 I was fairly active in the music/ performance scene in Toronto, Ontario. Mid 1983, I pretty much walked away from it all, and did not get back into much of anything till around 1999.

Back in the day, we used natural light with reflectors, or portable strobes with no modelling light. Anybody remember Ascor Megalumes? Manual focus, and light-meters, and anybody remember ... film?

Shot industrial, product, fashion, portrait, weddings publicity/publication. Pretty much some of everything, which is what it took to survive and pay your way through University. Have to admit my favorite stuff back then was music and fashion, even if they were the least remunerative.

In those years ('67-'83) a friend and I had complete and open access to any venue including Massey Hall and the O'Keefe Centre, or any act that came through Toronto. What was interesting, was our not even needing a special pass for 90% of the venues or events. You were just known, said 'hi', and walked in, and that included backstage, or even on stage. Try that now!

I went on to become a psychologist, and he went on to become Canadian editor of Billboard (amongst other music related endeavours).

I have been published in, or shot for, at least the following:.

MacLean-Hunter Pub., Popular Photography, Gogue News, Canadian High News, RPM, Hit Parader, Jazz, Cream, Rolling Stone, RCA records (trade and publicity), EMI Records, Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Centre Society Annual reports (2003, 2004), Dance Current (2008), Canadian Art Teacher News(2010), Art and Design 2 (2011).

Photographs for Sansui may still be at their corporate headquarters.

Posters for Latin Caribbean Music festival (2 years)

Posters for Crystal Garden Conservation Centre (3 years) Tiill it was closed in 2004.

The following includes a good sampling of the people and groups I have photographed. In no particular order, not even alphabetical.

Noel Harrison, Dionne Warwick, Sandy Duncan, Twiggy, Marshall McLuhan, John and Yoko (Bed-In Montreal), Bolshoi Ballet.


Gordon Lightfoot (probably my first for a magazine) Paul Butterfield, The Who, Frank Zappa, John & Yoko, Plastic Ono Band, Neil Diamond (album back cover), Peace Train (for Rolling Stone), Janis Joplin, Greatfull Dead, Robbie Robertson (alone for an article), Ronnie Hawkins, The Band, Tina Turner (in concert with Ike, and alone, and the Review), Ian and Sylvia, Joni Mitchel, Buffy St. Marie, Jose Felliciano, Johnny Winter, Dominic Troiano, James Brown (Article and photos for Gogue magazine), Procul Harum, Deep Purple, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Junior Walker, George Olliver, Mary Hopkins, Jimmy Hendrix, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Bonnie Dobson, Ginette Reno, Pierre LaLonde, Charlevois, Mountain, Mark Jordan, T-Rex, Sly and the Family Stone, James Last (for EMI);

Irish Rovers (Session photos for Whisky On The Sunday and Biplane. Recorded at Sound Canada. Playing on the session also was Lenny Breau on guitar and Scott Richards on bass.);

Graham Nash, Byrds, Roger McGuinn, Ella Fitzgerald, Vanilla Fudge, Chambers Brothers, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chuck Berry, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper (did the photos, retrieved the chickens he threw into the audience [they were tasty] and did a sunrise model shoot 4 hours later).

Covered the Festival Express for Rolling Stone ( I had hair then, so you will not recognize me in the movie) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festival_Express. Quite the trip from Toronto to Calgary. The like will not be seen again.

That is pretty much the music and celebrity scene in the past. And it is also a good example of the music scene in Toronto in those days.

Also in the good old days:

Worked for :

Al Gilbert


And learned about portraiture from him.

Bill Browne Photography

Wm. Smith Studios

Learned from:

The late, great,
Monte Zucker

Ken Bell

(Portraitist and official photographer for the National Ballet of Canada)


Modelling agencies I did trade with:

Judy Welch Modelling Agency
Judy was the first to accept my work, and allow TFP, when it meant print.
She was a gas to work with.

Bette Milne Agency
Bette all business and direct, with a hidden wicked sense of humour

International Top Models

Eleanor Fulcher Agency
Eleanor, as I remember ran a tight ship. Although it still carries her name she sold the agency in the 1980's

Only the old timers from Toronto will relate.


Since 2003 to current
Coultish Management



I have been active working with dancers from various local schools and troupes.

Primarily with Ballet Victoria since 2004.

Since coming to Victoria, from 2000 till 20011, I have either had a yearly solo exhibit, or been part of a group exhibit. From 2000 on, Google knows everything, so I will leave that up to you, if you are interested.


For High Quality images, contact photographer.

**All images are 'copyright protected' and may not be copied, modified, distributed or used in 'part or whole' without my 'expressed written consent'**

Thank you.