The number three has worked for one of Dayton’s most celebrated photographers.
Inspired by a photo of his children developed in the dark room at the Dayton Art Institute, then 33-year-old Andrew Jack Snow III made a decision about his future in 1983.
“I wondered if I would spend the rest of my life thinking what ‘if.’ Wouldn’t it be great to have a life with no regret?” the man known as Andy Snow said. “I just jumped in with both feet and my camera.”
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Not everything has been perfect, but Snow says the decision to become a full-time photographer has led him to a life of travel, artistic expression and joy.
The Ohio Arts Council announced Thursday, Jan. 9, that Snow will receive the 2020 Governor's Awards in the Individual Artist category.
Snow and eight other Ohio artists will be honored at a luncheon and ceremony on 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 25 at the Columbus Athenaeum in downtown Columbus.
James Friedman of Columbus is the only other photographer to receive the individual artist award, Snow said.
At least one Dayton artist had received an indiviudal artist honor for the last 10 years.
“The honor is being nominated. The award is for the community,” Snow, a resident of Cooper Lofts in downtown Dayton, said. “The community has nurtured me since I moved here in 1974.”
The Connecticut native’s family relocated to Upper Arlington when his father, Andrew Jack Snow Jr., an engineer and salesman, got a job in Columbus in 1965.
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Snow said his father and aunt Ruth McKinney passed on the love of photography they got from their grandmother, Margaret Weaver, an amateur photographer and Brookville native.
“It is a wild American story,” Snow said of his family’s history, which can be traced back to the Pilgrims.
The high school All-American swimmer and National Honor Society member earned a degree in philosophy at Princeton University, where he studied under documentary photographer Sol Libsohn and photography historian Peter Bunnell.
Snow moved to Dayton for a job at KH&C Advertising.
“Rike's (department store) was the first client I served,” he said.
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After working at the advertising firm two years, Snow and his then wife opened a retail businesses, selling items in Beavercreek, Englewood and the Dayton Mall.
He used some of the money he earned to buy camera equipment.
Snow said he always wanted to be a street photographer and travel. That dream came true.
“I worked through every single magazine you could think of when there were real magazines on paper and no screens,” he said.
That includes “TIME,” “BusinessWeek,” “Newsweek, “The New York Times,” “Forbes,” and “Fortune” and numerous other publications.
He found jobs with a who’s who of current and past Ohio companies including NCR, General Electric, Procter & Gamble and Reynolds and Reynolds.
“I just wanted to tell the story in one picture,” Snow said.
Snow also took photos of a list of celebrities that includes the late Roger Troutman and for a list of arts organizations that includes Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton Ballet and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.
Snow, the author of the 1993 book “Location Photography Secrets”, was honored as one of 20 “Best Projects of 2013” by the American Society of Media Photographers for “Watershed, Then&Now,” a history project commemorating the Great Flood of 1913 in the Miami Valley.
Snow, who also studied at Ohio University and Antioch University and received a master’s degree in digital media from Antioch University in 2005, remembers the advice he received while photographing famed fantasy and sci-fi writer Ray Douglas Bradbury in the 1980s.
Bradbury, a favorite of Snow’s, told him to do what he enjoyed and the rest will follow.
“I don’t have a job; I have a joy,” Show said. I took (Bradbury’s) words to heart and everything else has followed.”
2020 GOVERNOR’S AWARD WINNERS
• ARTS ADMINISTRATION | Lora Snow (Gallipolis, Gallia County)
Lora is the executive director at the Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre, Home of the Ohio Valley Symphony
• ARTS EDUCATION | Nigel Burgoine (Holland, Lucas County)
Nigel is the artistic director at the Ballet Theatre of Toledo
• ARTS PATRON | The Charles H. Dater Foundation (Cincinnati, Hamilton County)
• BUSINESS SUPPORT OF THE ARTS | Nicolettecinemagraphics (Columbus, Franklin County)
• COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & PARTICIPATION | Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch (Pomeroy, Meigs County)
• COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT & PARTICIPATION | Joan Perch (Elyria, Lorain County)
Joan is the program and outreach coordinator at the Campana Center for Ideation & Invention at Lorain County Community College
• INDIVIDUAL ARTIST | Jesse Ayers, DMA (Canton, Stark County)
Jesse is a composer and a professor of music at Malone University
• INDIVIDUAL ARTIST | Andy Snow (Dayton, Montgomery County)
Andy is a professional photographer and artist