Trained as a lawyer in Vienna, Austria, Fred Schiffer’s career was cut short before it could begin. Born into a Jewish family that ran a printing and publishing business, Schiffer helped pay his way through law school by teaching himself photography and printing photos in his room.
Forced to flee Austria when Hitler’s army marched through the streets of Vienna, Schiffer relocated to England where he met his wife, Olive, and began his photography career. In 1948, Fred and Olive and their two children moved to Buenos Aires, where Schiffer’s career continued to flourish, including a photo shoot with President Juan Peron. In 1958, the Schiffer family chose to leave the tense political climate of Argentina, settling in Vancouver.
Over the next forty years, Schiffer was a leader in Vancouver’s photographic community, setting a high bar for his contemporaries to aspire to, while always being generous with his time and knowledge.
A Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, Master Photographer, Life Member of Cameracraftsmen of America, and recipient of many honours, Schiffer was instrumental in establishing the Langara College Professional Photography Program, where an annual scholarship continues in his memory.