November 23, 2021 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography


In what has become an annual tradition, Monroe Gallery of Photography is honored to present a special exhibition celebrating the birthday of renowned photographer Tony Vaccaro - this year honoring his 99th birthday on December 20. The exhibit of over 40 photographs spans Tony's 80-year career and features several never-before-exhibited photographs. The exhibit opens Friday, November 26, and continues through January 16, 2022. Nearing age 99, Tony Vaccaro is one of the few people alive who can claim to have survived the Battle of Normandy and COVID-19.

As the world has endured nearly two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, the work of Tony Vaccaro serves as an antidote to man's inhumanity; by focusing on the splendor of life, Tony replaced the images of horror embedded in his eyes from war.

Born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania on December 20, 1922, Tony Vaccaro spent the first years of his life in the village of Bonefro, Italy after his family left America under threat from the Mafia. His mother died during childbirth a few years before tuberculosis claimed his father, and by age 5 he was an orphan in Italy, raised by an uncaring aunt and enduring beatings from an uncle. By World War II he was an American G.I., drafted into the war heading toward Omaha Beach, six days after the first landings at Normandy. Denied access to the Signal Corps, Tony was determined to photograph the war, and had his portable 35mm Argus C-3 with him from the start. For the next 272 days he photographed his personal witness to the brutality of war.

After the war, Tony remained in Germany to photograph the rebuilding of the country for Stars And Stripes magazine. Returning to the US in 1950, Tony started his career as a commercial photographer, eventually working for virtually every major publication: Look, Life, Harper's Bazaar, Town and Country, Newsweek, and many more. Tony went on to become one the most sought after photographers of his day.

UNDERFIRE: The Untold Story of Tony Vaccaro (trailer). from Cargo Film & Releasing on Vimeo.

Underfire: The Untold Story of PFC Tony Vaccaro is available from Apple and Amazon


Tags: birthday legends Life magazine Look magazine masters of photograph Santa Fe war photographer WWII