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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > The Roz Leibowitz Collection: Snapshot Disasters

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The Roz Leibowitz Collection
Snapshot Disasters

Why I collect what I collect or She clicked it twice!
I collect snippets of memory. Listen—there are bits and pieces all around us, practically piling up at our feet. Old diaries, old letters, old spiral bound sketchbooks with drawings of the anatomically impossible. Sometimes it’s no wonder these things were tossed to the wind—who would want them, I ask. Still, it’s not easy being an orphan. So I take them in, the good and the bad. But snapshots--- Listen, I never met an ugly snapshot. This is true. Each one is a perfect encapsulation of a moment in time, complete unto itself and utterly without pretension. What I mean is: a snapshot does its job, period.
I tell people that I am not a photographer I’m a finder. In fact, I can barely hold a camera without my hands shaking. The recording of the present time does not interest me. I prefer to mythologize the past. When I started collecting and I met Larry Baumhor, the kind soul who reigns at the dwindling New York City flea market, he asked me "So what are you looking for?" I told him, surreal women. To this day, Larry will call excitedly, "Roz, I found a few surreal women…! " Of course I take a peek. Who wouldn’t? So the collection started growing in odd directions. First it was the light flashes, which I still believe are a sign of other worlds making their presence known on this plane. Then it was the hidden writing on the back or even the front of the photos. Such a perfect matching of text and image still takes my breath away. Then I noticed the multiple exposures. She clicked it twice! a woman named Nell screams from the back of a snapshot I call whole lotta shaken going on. That’s the rational explanation. And professionals can tell me where all these lights and orbs and lines and streaks come from. I do not care. Nell knew what I know, that the snapshot disaster is often the one we remember and save for others to share. Even if those others are strangers, collecting snippets of memory fifty odd years in the future.
Roz Leibowitz
New York City 2008 



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