Tony Vaccaro photography exhibits celebrate his 100th birthday
November 19, 2022 | Source: Monroe Gallery of Photography
November 17, 2022
Tony Vaccaro, The Guggenheim Hat, New York, 1960. © ALL PHOTOGRAPHS TONY VACCARO / ALL PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY MONROE GALLERY OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
Monroe Gallery of Photography will present two major exhibitions celebrating Tony Vaccaro’s 100th birthday. “Tony Vaccaro: The Centennial Exhibition” opens in Santa Fe, NM on Friday, November 25, with Tony Vaccaro appearing remotely live from his New York home at 5:30 pm. The exhibition will continue through January 15, 2023.
A special satellite Tony Vaccaro photography exhibit presented by Monroe Gallery will be on view at 21 Spring Street in New York, December 13 – 18. Tony Vaccaro will be in attendance for a private reception Thursday, December 15, from 5-7 pm.; RSVP mandatory, please contact the Gallery if you’re interested in attending (505.992.0800; E-mail: email@example.com).
The exhibits span Tony Vaccaro photography 80-year career and feature several never-before-exhibited photographs.
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. 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, and by June, now a combat infantryman in the 83rd Infantry Division, he was on a boat 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.
As an antidote to man’s inhumanity, Tony Vaccaro photography focused his lens on those who gave of themselves: artists, writers, movie stars, and the beauty of fashion. By focusing on the splendor of life, Tony replaced the images of horror embedded in his eyes from war. This exhibition illustrates his will to live and advance the power of beauty in the life we all share.
As Tony nears his 100th birthday, he has survived two bouts with COVID-19, and is one of the few people alive who can claim to have survived the Battle of Normandy and COVID-19. He attributes his longevity to “blind luck, red wine” and determination.
“To me, the greatest thing that you can do is challenge the world,” he has said. “And most of these challenges I win. That’s what keeps me going.”
On December 20, Tony Vaccaro celebrates his 100th birthday, an inspiration to us all.
Tony Vaccaro with Test Strip NYC, 1960. Copyright Tony Vaccaro, courtesy Monroe Gallery.