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Herb Snitzer

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Snitzer has focused much of his photography on the relationship of jazz and the civil rights movement. He shows his subjects as both victims and leaders within American culture. His implication is that these jazz artists have had an important impact on and continue to make an important contribution to the American political and cultural scene. "For me, jazz is a metaphor on the American culture. How we perceive blacks."

Snitzer first moved to New York in the late 50's after he graduated as a furniture designer from the Philadelphia College of Art. He immediately locked into the jazz scene in smoky, seedy and small Greenwich Village clubs. "I was intuitively drawn to the performing entertainment and music worlds. In the beginning it had no political or racial overtones. I just loved the music." But as Snitzer became more trusted by the performers and more knowledgeable about their circumstances, he became more politically radicalized. Ironically, at the same time, major publications started to buy and feature his intimate and insightful jazz photographs. His credits included album covers and magazine work for a variety of periodicals including Metronome, where he was also an associate editor in the early 60's.

Snitzer is an experimental photographer using various methods to enhance his photographs. He has splintered photos and then superimposed parts from each upon one another as well as using a broken serial format which makes it appear as though we are observing frames lifted from a filmed sequence.

In 1963, Snitzer dropped out of the jazz scene for two decades to pursue other projects, from experimental education to corporate involvement. He is now a professor of photography at the Art Institute of Boston. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Smithsonian Institution, George Eastman House, and the Museum of Afro-American History in Boston.