Michelantonio Celestino Onofrio Vaccaro passed away in December after a brief illness at the age of 100 years old. Tony Vaccaro was a WWll Army veteran, known for his photographs taken during the war as he and his fellow soldiers fought from D Day at Normandy to Germany. After the war, he remained in Europe to document the destruction and rebuilding of countries decimated by the war. He published books on Italy, France and Germany.
Tony then started working for magazines in Europe as a photojournalist and a fashion photographer. In 1951, he returned to the US and began working for Look and Life magazines. His photographic subjects included President Kennedy, Picasso, Sophia Loren, Georgia O’Keefe, and many other important people in politics, the arts, and science.
Tony celebrated his 100th birthday at his favorite restaurant, Manducati’s Rustica on Vernon Blvd with 100 of his friends and family. The owner – originally from one of the bombed towns in Italy Tony photographed – has dedicated all of his wall space to Tony’s photographs.
I talked with Tony last year and he was busy at work in his studio digitizing all of his thousands of photos. Photography was his passion, and each photo had a story he was always willing to tell. Tony wanted his photos to be an instrument of peace. He saw the horrors of war, but he had hope for mankind in seeing life’s beauty.
A memorial service was held for Tony at the Wellspring Church in LIC. He is survived by his two sons, Frank and David, and his two grandsons. His wife, Anja, died in 2013.
Readers of the Juniper Berry can read more about Tony Vaccaro in the Sept./Oct. 2014 and June/July2015 issues. Also, there are many articles, documentaries and books about Tony that can be found on the internet.