A Jazz Memoir: Photography By Herb Snitzer (Virtual Exhibition)
// William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum


A Jazz Memoir: Photography by Herb Snitzer (Virtual Exhibition)
Sep 14 2020 | 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM

A Jazz Memoir: Photography by Herb Snitzer (Virtual Exhibition)

Virtual Exhibition

When | September, 17th 2020

Where | Our online Virtual Gallery

Cost | Free


In support of the Breman Museum’s mission to “Connect people to Jewish history, culture, and arts,” the newest exhibition, A Jazz Memoir: Photography by Herb Snitzer features photography documenting America’s jazz scene, focusing on the 1957–1964, of his over fifty-year career. For most of that time, Herb was the photography editor for Metronome, the primary magazine devoted to jazz. Images of Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Count Basie and many others are showcased in the exhibit. Additional works reveal his desire to use photography to effect social change and his belief that “Injustice for one is injustice for all.” A Jazz Memoir also speaks to the links that connect Jews, jazz and the African American community. 

Artist Bio

Born in 1932, Herb Snitzer is an American photographer who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, known especially for his lifelong obsession with jazz. He graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1957 and moved to New York City where he quickly emerged as one of the top young photojournalists. He worked for Life, Look, The Saturday Evening Post, Fortune, Time and other national magazines, as well as for The New York Times and the Herald Tribune.

His position as photography and associate editor of America’s leading jazz magazine, Metronome, enabled him to meet, photograph and befriend many of the leading jazz musicians of that era. Snitzer’s photographic, social and political interests cover a wide spectrum of issues that find their way into his visual work. Freedom, equality and justice are all expressed in his political images, yet he has also worked on more personal and intimate expressions of life and living. His pictures are in the collections of many museums and private collectors, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH) and Boston’s Museum of African American History (MAAH), and the collections of Elton John, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, to name a few. 

In the 1990s Herb was asked by a DJ on an LA Jazz radio station promoting an exhibition of his jazz photography, “What do you want people to take away (from) your work?” Herb said, “A sense that African Americans have centrally contributed to the culture and spiritual life of the United States. Jazz is…a statement about a people's desire and thirst for freedom, and with freedom, the sweetness of individuality and sense of self-worth. … Jazz musicians have made a very important contribution to the United States. … We must salute Pops, Duke, Sarah, Miles and others as major American artists, not jazz artists—which they were—but American artists. Duke Ellington was the greatest American composer of the twentieth century, but you would never know it from the white press. … Duke was the best … Martin Luther King was the best … W.E.B. Du Bois was the best, just as Sarah Vaughn's voice was the best. … I was expressing the injustice of it all.”

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