Enquire Eartha Kitt during a fashion fitting at Givenchy’s Paris showroom, 1961. The designer can be seen pinning her pink gown while the photographer can be seen making the image. (Photo by Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images)
Tony Vaccaro (b. 1922) discovered photography as a high school student in New Rochelle, New York. With the outbreak of WWII, Tony joined the US Army and was assigned to the 83rd Infantry Division. After landing on the beach at Normandy, his division fought their way to Berlin, then on to Italy. With a sharp eye for composition, gesture and the decisive moment, Vaccaro surreptitiously captured over 8,000 photographs during the war on a smuggled Argus C3 camera. Crouching in foxholes on moonless nights, he developed the film in helmets and hung the negatives to dry on tree branches. His iconic—and unauthorized—representations led the BBC to describe Vaccaro as the war’s greatest combat photographer. The Italian press simply dubbed him, ‘Il Maestro’.
War photography was only the start of Tony’s career, however. In the three decades following his honorable discharge, Vaccaro photographed Europe’s postwar reconstruction then returned to the US and began a prolific editorial career shooting portraits, fashion, and travel for magazines such as LIFE, Newsweek, Flair and Harper’s Bazaar. He photographed and befriended many of the twentieth’s century leading figures, including John F. Kennedy, Greta Garbo, Pablo Picasso, Federico Fellini, Sophia Loren, Marlene Dietrich, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’ Keeffe, Maria Callas, and more.
At the age of 96, Tony is still alive and working from his studio in Queens, New York. Throughout his lifetime he earned numerous military and industry honors, published ten books of his work and was the subject of a feature-length documentary film. His photographs have been exhibited more than 250 times and are in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Library of Congress in Washington. Getty Images Gallery is honored to be the first gallery to offer a selection of open edition prints in partnership with the Tony Vaccaro Archive and the Monroe Gallery.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.