SnapFind is an image retrieval system that enables efficient interactive search of large data sets by exploiting active disk technology. In contrast to earlier approaches, where data is typically pre-indexed for efficient retrieval according to a fixed scheme, SnapFind provides users with the flexibility to search non-indexed data in a brute force manner. The query is translated into a customized searchlet that is executed in parallel by processors near the storage devices. This enables the majority of irrelevant images to be discarded where they are stored. Partial results are displayed during search execution allowing users to interactively refine the query without waiting for search termination. This paper argues that algorithms with user-adjustable parameters are preferable to black-box image retrieval techniques.