At the age of 21, Tony Vaccaro was drafted into the war, and by the spring of 1944 he was photographing war games in Wales. 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, Tony fought on the front lines of the war. He entered Germany in December 1944, a private in the Intelligence Platoon, tasked with going behind enemy lines at night.
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, photographing everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren to Pablo Picasso and Frank Lloyd Wright.
This exhibition coincides with the HBO premiere on Monday, November 14, of the documentary film Under Fire: The Untold Story of Private First Class Tony Vaccaro. The film tells the story of how Tony survived the war, fighting the enemy while also documenting his experience at great risk, developing his photos in combat helmets at night and hanging the negatives from tree branches.
Tony Vaccaro: War, Peace, Beauty
November 11 to December 31, 2016
Monroe Gallery of Photography
112 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501