‘More than just a hero or heretic’: the story of photographer and FBI informant Ernest Withers | Documentary

When Ernest Withers died in 2007, he took a secret to the grave that would ruin his legacy as the famous photographer of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For years, while capturing critical moments in Black American history, Withers worked as an informant for the FBI, often providing the photographs he took of the civil rights movement to the very organization that aimed to suppress it. break.

No one but Withers himself can say for sure what his motivations were for working with the FBI—why, as a Black man who has dedicated his career to documenting and celebrating Black life, he provided information that might have those same endangering lives. But in The Picture Taker, a documentary premiering ahead of Black History Month, director Phil Bertelsen and producer Lise Yasui attempt to explore that question through what can only be described as Withers’ best defense: his body of work.

Bertelsen inherited the project from his mentor, St Clair Bourne, who died before Withers’ FBI connections came to light. The film opens and draws on a number of archival interviews with Withers himself, who describes his life growing up in Memphis, Tennessee and learning photography while serving in a segregated army during World War II.

The interviews with Withers not only provide a biographical background – they show the respect and reverence Withers was held as a chronicler of Black history, prior to the FBI revelations. In his 60-year photography career, Withers left behind an estimated 1.8 million images, documenting everything from First Communion, Beale Street, the Emmett Till trial, the Montgomery bus boycott, participants and BB King.

“He walked so many different paths and was presented to the public as either this hero on the front lines of the civil rights movement who put himself in very dangerous situations – an African-American man in the South with a camera was a very dangerous position to be in during the 50s and 60s,” Yasui said in an interview with the Guardian. “And when the FBI revelations came out, he was vilified. We really wanted to unpack that because we felt that understanding that period and era that Ernest was raised in, that context is everything. And you can’t really reduce someone’s decisions to this either/or.”

And Yasui and Bertelsen went hard with context, not only to inform, but also to raise possible reasons behind Withers’ involvement with the FBI. The film touches on Withers becoming one of the first Black police officers hired by the Memphis Police Department and later Kathleen Cleaver, a Black Panther activist, questioned whether the FBI might have had a hold on him from his time as a police officer. A former FBI agent during that period spoke about the fear of communism leading others to wonder if Withers joined the FBI because he wanted the civil rights movement to flourish and sought to weed out any alleged communists who might hinder their mission. weaken. Marc Perrusquia, the journalist formerly of the Commercial Appeal who broke the story about Withers’ FBI connections, talked about how Withers received about $20,000 from the FBI, the equivalent of about $170,000 today, while Rosetta Miller-Perry, a former representative of the US Civil Rights Commission, noted that someone also had to foot the bill for a poor photographer like Withers to travel across the country to document the movement.

“You always have to remember the background of segregation and how it worked. You didn’t say no to white people. You did things that you felt would increase your ability to survive because you wanted white connections,” activist John B Smith said in the documentary, adding another possibility to the mix.

The filmmakers never sugarcoated Withers’ work with the FBI, suggesting at one point that all the FBI informants at the time bore some responsibility for King’s assassination. While James Earl Ray was arrested and convicted as the gunman in King’s murder, King’s family and others within the civil rights movement maintain that there were other forces at work in a conspiracy to remove King from the public sphere. “You take it as part of the collective intelligence gathering that was going on – was he aware of that? Did he intend any of that information to be used against Dr. King? I doubt it very seriously,” Bertelsen said in an interview. “But I think it’s safe to say that his information probably had a negative impact.”

Ernest Withers. Photo: Thomas S England / Getty Images

But throughout the documentary, the photos taken by Withers himself, between 300 and 500 of Withers’ photos in total, are a mere fraction of his entire body of work, Bertelsen said.

In the 15 years since work began on the documentary, two books and a podcast have appeared about Withers’ life and involvement with the FBI. But what Bertelsen realized a documentary could do that those other mediums couldn’t was allow Withers to mount his own defense from beyond the grave through the images he took throughout his life.

Because even with his involvement with the FBI, no one can take away the sheer volume of Black history and life he captured on film. “And you can’t take that away from the community in which he lived and served, during a period where there were a few people like him who took images of our lives,” Bertelsen said. “It’s an archive, it’s a legacy, which is really remarkable and unparalleled.”

Few in the documentary take a strong stand against Withers. “Most people in and around Memphis knew about these revelations, and weren’t really willing to throw him under the bus,” Bertelsen said. “It was a surprise to us, and it showed that they themselves had a very nuanced understanding of that history and that period and that man.”

Both Bertelsen and Yasui hope that viewers will take that same nuance away from the documentary to continue in a complicated world where too many see only in black or white.

“Over the years, I woke up some mornings loving Ernest and in love with the images he took, knowing that no one else took them with the same compassion and insight that he did,” Bertelsen said. “And then other mornings I woke up and just despised the man for undermining the movement and putting people’s lives at risk. So it was never an either/or proposition for me. It was always both. In that light, I hoped to tell a story that reflected something more than just a hero or heretic question. At different times, Ernest was both of those things.”

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A Legendary Japanese Street Photographer Shot Y-3 SS23

Shoichi Aoki has been around the block, to say the least. However, even at nearly 70 years old, the popular photographer has an unceasing hunger to create, which eventually brought him together with Y-3.

I say finally because, while Aoki is a longtime fan of Y-3 co-founder Yohji Yamamoto’s work, he’s never actually worked with the legendary Japanese designer.

“In the 1980s, Yohji Yamamoto sent Japan into a fashion frenzy,” Aoki recalled to Highsnobiety. “I was part of that madness as a fan. I still remember it to this day as a magical period.

“Decades later, Y-3 is a brand that perfectly captures the magic of this moment – ​​an evocative blend of fashion and sportswear. Especially this season, the look allows the wearer to experiment with their own personal style. In the context of the current fashion landscape, I really feel like Y-3 represents something new and progressive.”

Aoki is best known to international audiences for creating the candid images seen in now-legendary photo magazines such as VOICE and Fruitthe latter of which was compiled for a few Phaidon compilations in the early 2000s.

His photographs of mid-’90s Harajuku kids wearing explosively personal, dramatically styled ensembles continue to grip the minds of fashion-obsessed kids around the world as representations of a bygone pre-internet era where all that mattered was to go to the hangout in the craziest clothes you could find.

“There is an inherent dynamism to this collection and so we wanted to work with a rather ‘analogue’ photographer who could bring an effortless feel,” explained Y-3’s senior design director Stefano Pierre Beruschi.

“Y-3 is all about the contradictions found in dynamic juxtapositions and Shoichi’s approach was a natural counterpoint to the collection. His vision was the perfect way to capture the inherent oppositions within the garments, shoes and accessories, and their attitude and atmosphere in the perfect way.”

The new designs are worn by models posing all over Tokyo, straying from Aoki’s preferred street style hunting ground.

“I usually shoot in Harajuku, but this time it was exciting to shoot in the chaotic streets of Tokyo,” said Aoki. “We had a few interruptions that forced us to move around – but that’s the nature of shooting, and overcoming challenges is part of the fun. The location had a strong aura and the natural tension that it created with the Y-3 clothes was perfect.”

That tension in the photos reflects the physics that inspired Y-3’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection, which launches in-store and online on January 27.

“To bring this collection to life, we experimented with the contrast between high-speed velocity and its antithesis – reverse aerodynamics, resistance and deceleration,” said Pierre Beruschi.

“The look of speed is undeniably elegant and the direction of this collection is its disruption. We explored the polarities between these two identities and brought them together in harmony as an image on the body.”

That means fuzzy logos, flowing layers and reinterpretations of staple sportswear. Varsity jackets realized in bright colors collide with muted overcoats and coach jackets, anchored by billowing reinterpretations of the adidas Y-3 sweatpants.

The sneakers should be just as familiar to Y-3 fans, reviving classic adidas silhouettes with textural details from the Yohji Yamamoto archives.

In place of the more futuristic Y-3 shoes that informed the 20th anniversary Fall/Winter 2022 collection, there’s more emphasis on heritage; more Gazelles and less Qasas.

Aoki, the epitome of this old-school ethos, is the perfect person to capture the action.

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Photographer Shares Why Brides Shouldn’t Dread a Wet Wedding

A photographer has shown why couples shouldn’t be afraid of any rain falling on their wedding day, insisting that despite the conditions it can still turn out just as well.

Wedding photographer Daniel Vertiz has traveled the world for his photography, which means he’s been caught in all kinds of weather. Notably, Vertiz photographed a wedding in Georgia in September 2022 when the skies opened up and the rain poured down, just in time for the outdoor ceremony.

As the wedding of Claire and Curtis Thorn began, light rain began to fall before gradually becoming heavier throughout the ceremony. The wedding party all stayed at the altar and the ceremony continued, refusing to let it deter them. It made for some memorable photos in the pouring rain.

This bride walked down the aisle with her father in the pouring rain during an outdoor ceremony

The forecast for the big day is a big factor for many engaged couples as they want to minimize the risk of bad weather. Wedding website The Knot, conducted a survey in 2022 that found October was the most popular month to get married, with 22 percent of the vote. There were also 11 percent who opted for September marriage.

The Knot emphasizes that fall weddings can mean slightly cooler temperatures that are still warm enough to allow for the possibility of holding parts of their celebrations outside. The vibrant colors of fall are another big draw for many brides and grooms.

Vertiz admitted that many brides fear rain on their wedding day, as it could be a bad omen, or ruin any outdoor plans they had in mind. However, he was optimistic that it would be nothing to worry about.

The couple stands in front of grooms
The married couple stand before the groom at the outdoor altar, during a downpour.

Vertiz tells News week: “Every bride dreads a wet wedding day, but Claire and Curtis took it in their stride and turned it into something magical. A true testament to their love.

“With a bridal party of 15 and 12 men in the procession, as the last two flower girls finished walking down the aisle, a slight sprinkle began to fall. A few people looked at each other wondering if the ceremony would go ahead. Then, right as Claire got out to start her walk, the rain started to fall.

“Without skipping a beat, she kept a big smile on her face with her dad in hand and came down. Her energy was contagious, and everyone was happy to see her enjoying herself. The guests had ‘ gathered a few umbrellas and hid under a small shelter. while the bridal party stood strong at the altar.”

Bride with her bridesmaids in the rain
This bride stands with her bridal party in the pouring rain, during an unforgettable outdoor ceremony.

When they finally got a chance to look at the photos Vertiz and his partner, Madeline Relph, took, they were in awe of how well they turned out. The bride and groom can be seen sharing a clear umbrella and doing their best to protect themselves from the heavy rain. All the bridesmaids, in their colorful dresses, are also seen lined up, each holding their own transparent umbrella for the photos, looking incredibly coordinated.

Vertiz said: “The rain and the sheer joy of this couple just made the images more magical. We are so honored to be a part of such a special day.”

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‘Geographic’ photographer failed to keep his word

Roughly 35 years ago I got a call National Geographic photographer based near Charlottesville, VAirginiaand asked him to come to the Mountain State and record the images of those I once referred to as “the last of the mountain nation.”

The famous photojournalist promised to “hook up” with me after completing a couple of photo assignments he was working on, one in Australia and the other in Mexico.

He never followed up on my invitation, even though I offered him the hospitality of my home and the friendship of mine. co Mountain climbers.

Meanwhile, I continued to travel the back roads and byways of Southern West Virginia, writing features and photographing some of the most interesting people on earth. Eventually, I changed my day job and became a professional educatorbut I continued to write about the families of the hills.

Within a few years, most of those precious elderly people I knew passed from this life to the next.

Unfortunately, their faces never appeared in a national magazine of the magnitude of the Geographically, but they are recognized in usregionally media. Many of those country people appeared in my trilogy, Songs of the Whippoorwill: an Appalachian Odyssey and my fourth volume titled Appalachian Chronicleswhich are all for sale at Tamarack in Beckleyas well as at Barnes & Nobleamazon, and other online outlets.

Maybe in the future a graduate students from a major university with grant money to burn might turn up and examine the archives. Perhaps the historical time traveler will come across the photos and stories of those who made a lasting impression on me.

Here are just a few of those that are seemingly indescribable people I came across in Southern West Virginia of 1980 through 2015.

A 49-year-old Beckley man sat on a log every day on dealing with his back woes. “I’ll admit that most people are baffled when they try to figure out why I’m sitting on the butt of a tree,” explained the friendly rehab patient.. Tthe oak stump near a rehabilitation center on Harper Road has been officially dedicated to the man who sat there almost every day. Witnesses claim that the man appeared to be “meditating over the log as if he were a monk”.

A pet possum named Sammie found a home in it the kitchen cupboard of a Hinton family. The animal with a hairy body and a rather rat-like face has taken up residence with a family living on New River Road. “She’s far from ugly,” a kind-hearted Hinton woman remarked of her unusual houseguest. “She’s a damn good pet and has almost no problems.” Meanwhile, the small primitive American animal apparently ate scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, bacon, ham, chicken, shrimp, broccoli, apples, pears, grapes and a variety of dog food. “She sleeps all day and walks all night,” the owner said. “She even climbs into bed with us and sniffs our ears. We play with her for a while and then go back to sleep.”

The woman continued: “We found Sammy when she was just a small, plus-sized creature. We fed her with an eye dropper, and my husband carried her around in his shirt pocket.”

Wanted: matchbox model house museum. A Bellwood woman created a problem of “unprecedented” proportions for herself: She built a model home in her bedroom and couldn’t find a way to get the structure through a window or door. She wanted to donate the piece to a museum if she could find a willing recipient. “The only thing I ask is that someone find a way to get this out.” The Bellwood native built a 4-by-5-foot structure out of matches—164,376 to be exact. But her doors and windows were not wide enough to let the model house through. “People who come in here to see it are blown away,” she said of the structure.

An Oak Hill woman said she heard her unborn son crying. A story made international headlines about a 27-year-old doctor from Shanghai who claimed to have heard the cries of the unborn child in her seventh month of pregnancy. The The 62-year-old grandmother from Oak Hill said this is nothing new. She heard the cry of her unborn son in 1951. The woman claimed she was in a taxi on her way to the hospital when she heard the cries of her third child, who was still in her womb. “I heard a sound like a kitten would make,” the woman recalled of the incident. “I never knew a baby could cry before it was born.”

Top of the morning!

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Florian Ledoux: The icy patience of an Arctic photographer

(CNN) — The polar bear was just a distant speck in a frozen white expanse. A film crew started following at a distance and gradually got closer. Suddenly, the bear picked up a scent and changed direction — the crew followed, hoping it would lead to footage of a kill. The bear stopped at a seal hole in the ice and began to wait. So is the crew.

For 12 hours they sat and waited for the bear to make a move. For 12 hours the bear lies half asleep, half awake at the edge of the hole. It was too long; the crew worked on the sea ice for 22 hours straight and had to return to camp. Cold and exhausted, they conceded defeat. Hours of waiting for little reward is not uncommon. “This is the price we pay to get unique images,” says the award-winning French photographer and filmmaker Florian Ledoux.

That’s the reality of wildlife photography — it’s always on nature’s terms. But that is also its challenge and appeal. “Every shot we get in the Arctic is a battle,” he says. “We push our limits; we feel alive doing it.”

Ledoux uses a drone to capture a new perspective. Here, a young polar bear pulls itself onto the ice.

Florian Ledoux

Ledoux speaks to CNN on a video call from his home in Tromsø, northern Norway. He is wearing a red and white knitted turtleneck and at just 2pm local time the sky through the window behind him is a rich indigo in December’s polar night.

He has spent the past two winters on the Arctic sea ice, filming iconic scenes for the BBC’s nature documentary series “Frozen Planet” and the Disney film “Polar Bear”, among others. Driven by a passion to preserve nature, his extraordinary aerial photography has earned him awards such as the 2018 Siena International Photo Awards Drone Photographer of the Year and Nature TTL’s Photographer of the Year in 2020. Now he is planning for his 2023 winter expedition, which will see him depart from Longyearbyen, the world’s northernmost settlement, to spend days and nights on the sea ice.

“If we start at the end of February, we have a little light. The sun passes above the horizon around 11:00 or 12:00 and then it’s dark at 2:00 or 3:00 p.m.,” he explains. From then on, the hours of light increase rapidly. “At the beginning of April you can no longer see the stars, and by the middle of April you have the midnight sun,” he adds.

Ledoux is attracted by the enormous and endless Arctic landscape.  Here he and a colleague are pictured on snowmobiles on the east coast of Svalbard during the winter.

Ledoux is attracted by the enormous and endless Arctic landscape. Here he and a colleague are pictured on snowmobiles on the east coast of Svalbard during the winter.

Florian Ledoux

The months when the sun is just starting to break through create the perfect palette for a photographer, says Ledoux. Every pastel shade of blue shines through and as the sun disappears, a pink belt shines on the horizon.

But capturing this Arctic twilight comes at a price. Ledoux describes how the obliterating winter conditions take their physical toll — overwhelming darkness and low vitamin D levels affect your mood, the lack of routine messes up your body clock, and you’re forever battling the bitter cold, with temperatures dropping on some days . minus 40 degrees Celsius. On those days, everything you touch with your bare hands sticks to your skin and every time you exhale, the moisture freezes on your face, he says. Despite wearing several layers of clothing, large down gloves and a neoprene face mask and ski goggles, the cold is biting through.

Yet these are the days Ledoux lives for. There was a time last winter, when the air was crisp, the sun was low, and an intense silence enveloped the sea ice. He saw steam rising from behind an iceberg and followed it with his drone and discovered a large male polar bear sleeping on the ice: “His body was warm and as he breathed, smoke came out of his mouth like a dragon. ”

Ledoux bundles up to face the elements.

Ledoux bundles up to face the elements.

Florian Ledoux

Main roles

Despite being out of most human contact in the wilderness, Ledoux is often at the mercy of a producer’s shot list. Disney, Netflix or the like will request a specific shot of a polar bear, such as a successful hunt or a mating scene. Ticking it off can take days or months, but the key is not to rush it.

After a bear is found, the crew will follow at a distance before gradually approaching. “We want to make sure the bear likes us,” says Ledoux, adding that the bear must feel comfortable in their presence to capture honest and unique behavior. If a bear is skittish or reacts badly to their presence, they will stop chasing it. “It’s just the way it is – if it doesn’t want to be the star, you can’t force it.”

A polar bear is photographed after feeding in Svalbard.

A polar bear is photographed after feeding in Svalbard.

Florian Ledoux

Over time, Ledoux believes you begin to recognize individual bears. Some look different, with the shape of their face or physical marks giving it away. Others have distinct characters; some are shy and some are curious and playful.

One of his signature photos, which took pride of place in Disney’s “Polar Bear,” shows two bears joyfully ice-skating together. Ledoux had never seen two bears having so much fun: “It was pure magic. We were so high afterwards that we forgot to eat all day or night.”

The feeling of being close to a polar bear is addictive, he says. The first time he saw one, he had goosebumps, and despite hundreds of encounters since then, that reaction hasn’t subsided. “They are so majestic and beautiful … It brings up a lot of emotions,” he adds. His aim is to convey these emotions through his images.

Ledoux watched these two polar bears for hours, playing and ice skating together.

Ledoux watched these two polar bears for hours, playing and ice skating together.

Florian Ledoux

Melting ice

One of Ledoux’s photos, which landed on the cover of Oceanographic Magazine and Wildlife Photographic, shows a polar bear jumping precariously between broken pieces of ice. It sends a message of fragility and reflects the threat of shrinking ice sheets. The Arctic is warming nearly four times faster than the rest of the planet, causing ice to melt and threatening the entire ecosystem that depends on it.

Even in the few years Ledoux spent exploring the Arctic, he witnessed these changes. It has rained for days in the winter months and the terrain they can work on is getting smaller as sea ice becomes less stable.

Aerial view of the Austfonna Ice Sheet melting during summer 2020, shortly after the Svalbard island group recorded its highest temperature since records began.

Aerial view of the Austfonna Ice Sheet melting during summer 2020, shortly after the Svalbard island group recorded its highest temperature since records began.

Florian Ledoux

“It’s important to document,” he says, comparing his role to that of a war photographer, albeit at a slower pace and less threateningly dangerous. There is an urgency, and he feels a duty to record what is happening.

“Would I fly the drone just because I fly the drone? No,” he says. “The drone is a tool that allows me to capture some unique beauty and perspective of nature, to give a voice to the one who cannot speak.”

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Somerville Photographer JJ Gonson brings the Boston Music Scene and more to the walls of the Bloc11 Cafe


You may know JJ Gonson. You may have seen her ubiquitous photo of Kurt Cobain floating around in the internet ether. You may have attended her music venue the ONCE Lounge and Ballroom, or you may have sampled some of her food from her catering company. Anyway, I became more familiar with the punk/rock/grunge scene after chatting with her at my favorite hangout, the Bloc 11 Café, where she has an exhibition of her work.

JJ Gonson works as a caterer, to make the daily nut. She told me she first got her footing in Somerville at Kitchen, Inc., located on Somerville Ave. was located, across from where Target is now. Then she moves to 156 Highland Ave to another kitchen/catering space.

As for her time running the ONCE Ballroom and Lounge, she told me a host of musicians performed there. The likes of Amanda Palmer, Phoebe Bridgers, Mitszi, many heavy metal bands hit the stage, just to name a few. The ambitious Gonson told me, “I also run a Somerville-based summer music series at the Boynton Yards development. We use their large parking lot for our venue. People hear bands play all day and have a good time.”

Elliot Smith photographed by JJ Gonson.

During Gonson’s college years in the 80s, she was always at clubs like the Rat in Kenmore Square, TT the Bear, in Central Square, Cambridge, and many others. The bands that played there were her friends, and she took pictures of them in action. Her work has been appreciated and bought by publications such as The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix, Boston Rockand others.

In terms of her photography, which began when she was a student at the Massachusetts College of Art, she said, “Photographs are about memory, what we hold on to, what we choose to preserve.” And indeed, Gonson is a curator of her own memory.

One of the many musicians Gonson befriended and photographed was Elliot Smith. Smith was an award-winning songwriter with a melancholic sound. He has been part of the vibrant music milieu of Portland, Oregon, and has released some highly influential albums. Gonson recalled: “I was working in a cafe in Portland, where I met some of Smith’s friends. I ended up going to the second concert he ever did. His talent just oozed out of him, his voice, his mastery of the guitar, etc.” Gonson said she did the cover for his first album, and they were good friends for 2 or 3 years. Gonson reflected: “We ended up moving to different places and lost touch. He later committed suicide. He came from a difficult and abusive background. I’m still in touch with his sister.”

Regarding her show at the Bloc, she explained: “A lot of my photos are in ‘visual storage’. Some are in record stores, and some are stored at a production company. So I took a lot of them to hang on the walls at to exhibit the Block.

Gonson pointed out a portrait she did of Billy Ruane, a champion of the Boston music scene, who died about 12 years ago. He was responsible for bringing the music scene to the Middle East, a famous place in Cambridge, MA. Like Smith, Ruane was troubled and suffered from alcoholism and manic depression, hence his early death at 52.

As we looked around, said cafe Gonson had pictures of Henry Rollins, Elliot Smith, Kurt Cobain and many more on the walls. There was an intensity to these photos that made you stop and look.

Gonson does not make a living from her collection of photography. She said: “My photos are all over the internet. To track them all down would be a huge project, time consuming and not a very profitable one.” Her photo of Kurt Cobain, for example, was used by thousands on the Internet, Gonson laughed: “They even made tattoos of that photo.”

Gonson hopes that her passion will eventually be her only life. But until then, she will provide delicious food, and keep an eye, or lens out for another great shot.

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Photographer Herb Snitzer captured jazz legends and his St. Petersburg neighbors

When Thelonious Monk played, when Nina Simone paused, when Louis Armstrong took a smoke break, photographer Herb Snitzer was there.

“He was there,” says Bob Devin Jones, a playwright and friend. “He was in the room where it happened.”

A white Jewish kid from Philadelphia, Snitzer was drawn to the jazz scene in the late 1950s, the Black musicians behind it and the growing movement for equality they helped lead.

Throughout his 60-year career behind the camera, through more than a decade in education and in the 30 years he has made his home in St. Petersburg, one theme united Snitzer’s work — freedom.

“It’s always been there,” he told the St. Petersburg Times in 1999 said. “Strive for freedom, dignity and equality. To me, that’s what jazz was and still is. It’s a metaphor for freedom.”

Snitzer died on December 31 at 90 of complications from Parkinson’s.

Nina Simone is pictured in this Herb Snitzer photo. [ Photo by Herb Snitzer ]

The photographer’s experiences with equality and discrimination went beyond what he saw through his viewfinder. The son of Ukrainian immigrants, Snitzer studied at art school before serving in the military, then moving to New York City.

His first job was to design a ballroom at the Waldorf Astoria. Snitzer’s boss loved him, said wife Carol Dameron, and even treated him to a performance at the opera. When Snitzer’s parents took the train from Philadelphia to New York, his boss came along to greet them. He realized his protector was Jewish, Dameron said.

A week later he fired Herb.

This photo by Herb Snitzer shows jazz legend Thelonious Monk deep in concentration during a 1959 performance.
This photo by Herb Snitzer shows jazz legend Thelonious Monk deep in concentration during a 1959 performance. [ Photo by Herb Snitzer ]

Snitzer, who had taken photography classes in college and made photographs during his time in the military, was soon hired by a magazine editor to make images of Count Basie Orchestra’s tenor saxophonist Lester Young.

“That session completely changed my life when it came to wanting to know more about these musicians as people,” Snitzer told the Times in 1999.

Louis Armstrong photographed in 1960 by photographer Herb Snitzer.
Louis Armstrong photographed in 1960 by photographer Herb Snitzer. [ Photo by Herb Snitzer ]

He began making images for Life Magazine, The New York Times and other national publications. He got married, started a family and gradually became famous and familiar in the jazz world. Snitzer played table tennis with Thelonius Monk. Dizzy Gillespie knew him by name.

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Snitzer photographed jazz artists who used their music to promote freedom.

“Nina Simone and John Coltrane, that was the message they were sending,” he told the Times in 2020. “It was a message of freedom and they used music as a conduit for anger. Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln did a thing about freedom. It was in the air. Boy, you couldn’t escape it. And you wanted to it does not escape.”

Count Basie was photographed in 1960 by photographer Herb Snitzer.
Count Basie was photographed in 1960 by photographer Herb Snitzer. [ Photo by Herb Snitzer ]

Snitzer captured now-iconic, candid images of famous people because his presence put them at ease. He wasn’t there to withdraw or replace, he added something, says Jones, who is one of the founders of The [email protected] in St. Petersburg is.

“He was an easy trip to a distant planet.”

Snitzer found success behind the lens, but he soon left it and New York City for another calling.

Miles Davis was photographed by photographer Herb Snitzer.
Miles Davis was photographed by photographer Herb Snitzer. [ Photo by Herb Snitzer ]

In 1963, Snitzer and his family moved to the Adirondacks. There, inspired by the Summerhill School in England, which taught “participatory democracy”, Snitzer helped found the Lewis Wadhams School. He served as a school principal and earned his master’s degree in education. That school closed in 1976, and soon his marriage ended and Snitzer was fired from his job at Polaroid.

In 1992 he went to St. Petersburg and resumed photography. At the opening of Galery 146, which has since closed, Snitzer was sitting and chatting with a fellow artist when he spotted artist Carol Dameron. She had no idea who he was or the career he already had.

“The moment I saw him, I wanted to go and talk to him,” she said. “He looked up at me and said, sit down. And that was it, we never looked back.”

Artist Carol Dameron and photographer Herb Snitzer spent 29 years together. "I think he is the most driven person I have ever met," Dameron said. "And I was driven."
Artist Carol Dameron and photographer Herb Snitzer spent 29 years together. “I think he’s the most driven person I’ve ever met,” Dameron said. “And I was driven.” [ Courtesy Carol Dameron ]

Snitzer worked and moved quickly. He didn’t hesitate or think too much. As he did with the jazz musicians in the 50s and 60s, he continued to make intimate images of people in moments of ease.

“You get the feeling that they don’t even realize that their photos are be taken,” said Robin O’Dell, who spent 15 years at St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts, including as the curator of photography. “He was just very good at capturing a moment in time and telling a whole story in a single image. He just had a way of cutting through.”

For years photographer Herb Snitzer St.  Pete Pride documented.
For years photographer Herb Snitzer St. Pete Pride documented. [ Photo by Herb Snitzer ]

Snitzer also had a way with the images he composed. The black borders around some of his photos show that he didn’t go back and forth to crop or reassemble.

“He was right in there,” O’Dell said. “It’s kind of a point of pride. That’s what he saw in the camera and that’s what he took.”

From the 1950s, Herb Snitzer documented some of the greatest musicians of the century from behind his camera lens.  Dave Brubeck is pictured here.
From the 1950s, Herb Snitzer documented some of the greatest musicians of the century from behind his camera lens. Dave Brubeck is pictured here. [ Photo by Herb Snitzer ]

Snitzer’s images are on album covers, in private collections, on T-shirts and part of our culture. His fingerprints on St. Petersburg is equally present.

For years he St. Pete Pride photographed. He played an early role in Salt Creek Artworks, an artist collective and gallery space that was a precursor to the Warehouse Arts District. He served as the first interim director of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum.

“Everybody knows he was a master photographer, but he was also a master human being,” Jones said.

Snitzer loved people and their stories, but he also loved their humanity.

“James Baldwin says art is important because life is important,” Jones said. “And Herb’s life, his activism, his compassion stood very much in protest for many things — civil rights, human rights — I think they were one in the same.”

Nina Simone photographed in 1959 by photographer Herb Snitzer.
Nina Simone photographed in 1959 by photographer Herb Snitzer. [ Photo by Herb Snitzer ]

Poynter News researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story.

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Read other epilogues:

‘Chapel of Love’ singer Rosa Lee Hawkins dies in Tampa at 76

Known for her face, the Gerber baby wanted to be remembered as a great teacher

St. Petersburg woman inspired a new wave of Irish cuisine. She died at 81.

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P.E Nation co-founder Claire Tregoning CONFIRMS split from filmmaker and photographer Timothy

Claire Tregoning finally confirmed her split from husband Timothy on Saturday after they separated eight months ago.

The PE Nation co-founder, 42, and filmmaker, 40, who share two children together, kept their split under wraps for most of last year.

But the high-profile Sydney fashion socialite broke her silence in a recent interview with The Sydney Morning Herald where she said they ‘still love each other’.

Claire Tregoning (42) (left) finally confirmed her split from husband Timothy (40) (right) on Saturday after they separated eight months ago

“It’s very friendly, we still love each other, we co-parent and he remains a good friend,” she said.

“Things change and that’s just what happened for us, but we get through it with a lot of respect and support for each other.”

Rumors surfaced last November that the couple had quietly broken up after they deleted each other from Instagram and stopped posting loved-up photos.

The PE Nation co-founder and filmmaker, who share two children together (pictured), kept their split under wraps for most of last year

The PE Nation co-founder and filmmaker, who share two children together (pictured), kept their split under wraps for most of last year

Claire and Tim Tregoning have quietly parted ways after more than a decade together.  They have two children, aged eight and nine

Claire and Tim Tregoning have quietly parted ways after more than a decade together. They have two children, aged eight and nine

They spent most of their marriage renovating their family home in Avalon, on Sydney’s northern beaches, and raising their two children.

From relaxing family weekends to lavish trips away, the businesswoman has constantly tagged her cinematographer husband in Instagram posts with their kids while wearing PE Nation gear.

She even shared one particularly intimate bedroom photo with the caption ‘Lover’ with her 19,000 followers.

But the high-profile Sydney fashion socialite broke her silence in a recent interview with The Sydney Morning Herald where she said they 'still love each other'.  Pictured with PE Nation co-founder Pip Edwards

But the high-profile Sydney fashion socialite broke her silence in a recent interview with The Sydney Morning Herald where she said they ‘still love each other’. Pictured with PE Nation co-founder Pip Edwards

Claire Tregoning (pictured, right) is seen with close friend and PE Nation business partner Pip Edwards (left) at Australian Fashion Week 2022

Claire Tregoning (pictured, right) is seen with close friend and PE Nation business partner Pip Edwards (left) at Australian Fashion Week 2022

PE Nation at the 2021 Australian Open: Claire Tregoning is pictured right, next to her husband Tim.  Pip Edwards is on the left

PE Nation at the 2021 Australian Open: Claire Tregoning is pictured right, next to her husband Tim. Pip Edwards is on the left

On Father’s Day last year, Claire posted a picture of Timothy and their children eating croissants together on the deck of their $1.2 million renovated ‘shack’ – gushing about how he is a ‘beautiful chaotic loving father’ to their ‘crazy cubs’.

‘The love you shower our crazy cubs in is endless. Your journey and growth as a father has been an inspiring one to watch. We love you,’ she wrote. That was the last time he appeared on her feed.

Since then, Claire has been on holidays to Tasmania and Los Angeles, a ski trip to New Zealand, and two trips to London – splashing her getaway on Instagram and tagging friends and family each time.

However, her husband was notably absent from her feed.

Claire, who co-founded PE Nation in London with Pip Edwards, did not respond to questions about her suspected split when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.

“It’s very friendly, we still love each other, we co-parent and he remains a good friend,” she said

They spent most of their marriage renovating their family home in Avalon, on Sydney's northern beaches, and raising their two children

They spent most of their marriage renovating their family home in Avalon, on Sydney’s northern beaches, and raising their two children

The same question was put to Timothy, who did not deny the rumor. Responding to a Daily Mail Australia reporter, he said: ‘Keep up the good work honey, you’ve got a long way to go.’

Just over a year after the Father’s Day post, on September 30, Tregoning was arrested in Bondi when police found him with two resealable bags of cocaine.

He pleaded guilty in Waverley Local Court to drug possession and will be sentenced in January.

The maximum penalty for a drug possession charge is $5,500 or two years in prison.


The Tregonings have been together for at least a decade and live in a refurbished $1.2 million fibro “shack” in Avalon, on Sydney’s northern beaches, with their two children, aged nine and eight.

During interviews in 2020, he and his wife talked about how they relied on each other for support during lockdown.

Mrs Tregoning said her husband traveled a lot for work so ‘both of them were amazing to be locked up’.

On Father’s Day last year, his wife posted a picture of her husband and children eating croissants together on the deck of their $1.2 million renovated ‘cabin’ – gushing about how he is a ‘beautifully chaotic loving father’ to their ‘crazy cubs’.

He hasn’t appeared on her Instagram feed since then.

Tregoning is a cinematographer who has been involved in a series of high-profile productions since 2012, including a Netflix series.

He was most notably involved in Snow White and the Huntsman starring Chris Hemsworth, along with the Australian TV series Puberty Blues, and commercials for Audi, NRMA and Qantas.

But his life began to make headlines in 2016 when his activewear mogul wife launched sports brand PE Nation with Pip Edwards.

Their fitness empire started as an online store, but demand for activewear grew through the pandemic, and the business expanded in May this year to include a brick-and-mortar storefront in The Galeries on Sydney’s George Street.

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Legendary Photographer Guy Bourdin’s Work Is Getting A Web3 Reboot

Bourdin’s alluring images shaped both commercial and art photography throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s.

(Guy Bourdin Estate)

While the legendary French photographer Guy Bourdin is best known for his approach to surrealism, “his influences were very diverse,” as his son Samuel Bourdin recounted. Maintenance magazine. “From pop culture to high art, American comic books from the 50s and 60s, hyperrealist painters, classic filmmakers like Erich von Stroheim, horror movies, Pre-Raphaelite painters, classical music, James Brown.”

His attitude to life, Samuel observed, is best summed up in his dictum, “It is better to live five minutes of happiness than a whole life in a conventional way.” And better to shock than appease.

(Guy Bourdin Estate)

Bourdin, who was born in France in 1928 and died in 1991, had work exhibited in and collected by some of the most prestigious museums in the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Modern in London . Jeu de Paume, the Getty Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.

His career has spanned over 40 years, and he has worked with all the major fashion magazines as well as Chanel, Charles Jourdan, Pentax and Bloomingdale’s, among others, creating lush, bold images that were unlike anything else.

While he’s never had the name recognition of, say, Helmut Newton, Bourdin’s work is taking on new life thanks to something he never could have imagined: blockchain technology.

The Guy Bourdin Estate is a key collaborator in Fellowship, a new photography platform “dedicated to bringing the most acclaimed names in photography to Web3,” led by a collection of artists and creatives including Wallpaper*’s Holly Hay, Chadwick Tyler and Alejandro Cartagena among others.

(Guy Bourdin Estate)

“Fellowship will host NFT collections of works by living artists, emerging photographers and artists’ estates like Bourdin’s, “marking a turning point for photography on the blockchain.”

By creating a “new path for artists to present work on the blockchain,” and by enabling a new generation of collectors, “Fellowship commissions and exhibits photography in an accessible way through a rotating spotlight on the best photographic talent, from the most important to breakthrough artists of tomorrow.”

(Guy Bourdin Estate)

In addition to Bourdin, Fellowship’s first series of NFT photography exhibitions includes the work of Joel Meyerowitz, Gregory Crewdson and Joel Sternfeld. We spoke to Frederic Arnal, director of the Guy Bourdin Estate, about his life and legacy.

Why is Bourdin’s work so important?

Guy Bourdin pushed the boundaries of fashion photography as early as the mid-1950s, at a time when its primary purpose was mostly to illustrate elegance. His single image narratives, both complex and alluring, reoriented the work of fine art photographers and shaped both commercial and fine art photography throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, in ways that still echo today. A longtime collaborator of French Vogue, Bourdin’s work brought a new level of thoughtfulness to image creation in fashion photography and beyond.

(Guy Bourdin Estate)

What new ground has he broken as a photographer?

Surrealist art and commercial and fashion photography were considered distinctly different fields during the 1950s. Guy Bourdin was the first artist to merge these worlds with his unconventional work, elevating storytelling within fashion photography above even the products being promoted. His images cemented fashion photography – and in some ways fashion itself – as the narrative art we know today.

Why does his work remain relevant?

Creating narratives is an art in itself, and only a handful of artists have mastered it over photography’s 150-year history. To this day, Bourdin’s work serves as a seminal example of tableau photography within the art and commercial photography space for its iconic aesthetic as well as its innovative spirit.

(Guy Bourdin Estate)

How will Fellowship help strengthen this?

One of Fellowship’s goals is to make the art of photography – from historically important collections to newer works – accessible to a wider audience via Web3. Collaborations with the Guy Bourdin Estate and other artists’ archives have already revealed new ways of understanding these seminal works. And it invited a new generation of artists to explore Bourdin’s artistic vision and expand on their own.

What is Bourdin’s legacy to the world of photography?

A spirit of relentless innovation that radiates through his life’s work.

(Guy Bourdin Estate)

Tags: art blockchain Cryptocurrency Entertainment Guy Bourdin magazine article photography Web3

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New exhibition reveals a forgotten Iraq through the lens of photographer Latif Al Ani

Latif Al Ani’s exhibition of photographs at The Farjam Foundation in Dubai presents a cultural milestone. Not only does it celebrate the work of a pioneering 20th-century Iraqi photographer, who died in 2021 aged 89, but it is also a glamorous and, in retrospect, haunting record of Iraq from the 1950s-1970s.

Titled Latif Al-Ani: Documenting the Unforgettable and the Forgotten, the ongoing exhibition at the Dubai International Financial Center gallery features three sections of Al Ani’s work. The first focuses on his photographs of Iraq’s changing architectural landscape, the second captures Baghdad’s postcolonial society and the third showcases his work in rural Iraq.

“Latif’s photographs are very much driven by this idea of ​​a postcolonial nation in the making,” says Morad Montazami, art historian and curator of the exhibition. The National. “I approached his work as documentary photography and tried to find the patterns that reveal the story of this documentation.”

The narrative of Al Ani’s work is a profound one. He is known as the “father of Iraqi photography” for his work depicting the country before the rise of Saddam Hussein, but Al Ani did more than just document a changing nation and its people. He is celebrated for capturing the spirit of Iraq’s golden age, a country that experienced a socio-economic boom during the post-colonial monarchy as it entered a modern, exciting future while retaining its rich heritage .

Whether the photographs in the new exhibition are viewed in the order presented in the space or sporadically, the impression is the same. Beautiful sites and poignant moments, filled with optimism, idealism and nostalgia.

Images flash by, depicting fragments of Iraq’s magnificently varied cultural heritage: humble factory workers, ceremonial parades, the great minaret of Samarra, modern urban architecture, a young woman playing the accordion, a boy carrying a baby goat on a desert road holding, pre-Islamic monuments in Hilla, Jewad Selim’s Freedom Monument in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, a farmer watching over his sheep as they graze in front of ancient ruins, palm trees, waterfalls, flowers, mountains, rivers.

Through these black and white flashes – stark, perceptive and layered with meaning over time – Al Ani captures the cosmopolitan life of Iraq during a period of rapid change.

“You can see the pre-Islamic and somehow the Islamic [influences]perhaps due to the coexistence of so many archaeological sites, and also the westernized modernist architecture,” says Montazami.

“All these things coexist in the same space, in the same time, which is the Baghdad of the 1950s and ’60s. What Latif’s photos show is almost science fiction in a way. Because if you ask me today, where in the world would you find pre-Islamic archeology or artifacts, and Islamic, and some kind of westernized modernim, coexisting… I’m not sure.”

Latif Al Ani in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, in 1957

Through a discerning eye, a deep understanding of the current zeitgeist and his artistic instincts, Al Ani’s work has transformed Iraq’s unique tapestry of history, heritage and something concrete and real.

Montazami believes that through his photography, Al Ani was able to capture a distinct time and spirit while capturing a unique cultural landscape better than anyone else in the region.

“It continues to challenge our conception and challenge our boundaries on these ideas of pre-Islamic and Islamic, and traditional and modern, in a concrete space at the expense of ending up only in photography, a kind of visual memory. But it is a strong one. You can reproduce it, you can print it.”

The sense of nostalgia in Al Ani’s work is almost overwhelming.

His photographs are as beautiful as they are tragic, for those who have heard of Iraq’s “golden era” and perhaps more profound for those Iraqis who have inherited the stories from their parents and grandparents, of a homeland ripe with potential to become, as it once was in ancient times, a center of cosmopolitan life, a beacon in the region and beyond.

Al Ani’s understanding of Iraq’s cultural, social and political fabric went beyond his work as a photographer documenting the changing times of his country.

Industrial School, 1961, by Latif Al Ani

Born in Karbala in 1932, Al Ani completed an internship at the Iraq Petroleum Company in 1953, where he covered the company’s projects for its two newspapers, Ahl al Naft (People of Oil) and Iraq Petroleum. During this time he developed photography from a hobby to an art form.

Reflecting on his inspiration, in a previous interview with the NationalAl Ani said, “I was interested in the social and human life of the Iraqi people,” adding, “That’s what I tried to document.”

In 1960, Al Ani worked at Iraq’s Ministry of Culture, setting up its photography department and its magazine ‘New Iraq’, before heading the photography department at the Iraqi News Agency in the 1970s. In many ways, through his own observations and his work in government sectors, he was able to foresee the nostalgic potential of his work.

“He felt that all this beauty and all this social growth was already threatened and already somehow destined to be lost through political crisis and coups and political corruption,” says Montazami.

“He was quite bitter, and that bitterness explains how he just flat-out stopped taking any pictures and put the camera aside for the rest of his life from 1979.”

When Saddam Hussein came to power and banned public photography, Al Ani suddenly stopped capturing the world around him.

Housing Project Office, Yarmouk, Baghdad, 1962 by Latif Al Ani

After decades in creative hibernation, in 2015, when the Ruya Foundation, an Iraqi cultural foundation, staged an exhibition of his photographs for the Iraqi Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, international interest in Al Ani’s work began to increase – particularly to a subsequent retrospective held at Sharjah Art Foundation in 2018.

Looking at his work today, it’s hard not to wonder if Al Ani deliberately photographed what he expected to disappear quickly. His work, whether slightly staged or capturing what was unfolding before him, is effortless yet imbued with multiple meanings.

“There is this kind of visual strength or visual appeal, that almost every detail of the frame becomes relevant in Latif’s photograph,” says Montazami.

“They have so much of this documentary impulse, which is this ability to seize a moment or a figure or a place, and make almost the most dramatic, or the most decisive, representation of that figure or that place or that moment give.”

And while one has to appreciate Al Ani’s artistic choices and stylistic prowess, it’s hard to look past the glaring nostalgia of his images, especially in light of the turmoil Iraq has experienced over the ensuing decades and continues to face stare.

“Most of these photos are unforgettable,” adds Montazami.

“They are as impressive in their grasp of the moment, or the place, as they are for your ability to remember them. They have this kind of iconicity. They look like the best view of every place or every figure of that time.”

Latif Al-Ani: Documenting the Unforgettable and the Forgotten is on display at the Farjam Foundation in the Dubai International Financial Centre. More information is available at farjamcollection.org

Browse images of the Pearls of Wisdom exhibition detailing Islam’s contributions to the world below

Updated: December 31, 2022, 1:35 p.m

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