Tony Vaccaro’s mother died in childbirth, and at a young age he also lost his father to tuberculosis. At the age of 5 he was orphaned in Italy and withstood the blows of his uncle. As an American soldier in World War II, he survived the Battle of Normandy.
Today, a famous war photographer and celebrity at the age of 97, he overcame a battle with KOVID-19. He attributes his longevity to blind happiness, red guilt and determination.
For me, the greatest thing you can do is challenge the world, Wakcaro said. And I win most of those calls. That makes me want to leave.
Vaccaro’s courage led him to a life that began as a combat fantasist when he pulled out his camera and captured nearly 8,000 images of everyday and terrible moments.
In one of his famous paintings, The Kiss of Liberation, an American sergeant kisses a young French woman at the end of the fascist occupation.
In 2016 the documentary film HBO Under Fire was presented to him: The history of Tony Vaccaro’s PFC and his paintings can be seen in museums such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Vaccaro documented the reconstruction of Europe and returned to the United States, where he became known as a fashion photographer and celebrity for magazines such as Look, Life and Harper’s Bazaar.
He has excellent memories of his subjects and their great personalities, including Sophia Loren, John F. Kennedy, Enzo Ferrari, Georgia O’Keefe and Pablo Picasso.
He and Picasso understood each other as brothers. But the artist does not relax during the photo shoot, so Vaccaro fools him by pretending that his camera is broken and that his photos are not real.
He kept pretending to be a male model. I didn’t like it, Vaccaro said. I wanted the image to be realistic. An honest picture. And that’s what happened.
Vaccaro lives in Queens, a coronavirus-infested area of New York City, with his son Frank, his twin grandchildren and his sister-in-law Maria, who manages his 500,000 photo archives.
This 1960 photograph by Tony Vacarro shows the artist Georgia O’Keefe posing with her painting The Palvis Series, Red and Yellow in Taos Pueblo, New Mexico. Vaccaro, 97, was married at 83. Infantry Division thrown in World War II, which like Carl Shea fought in Normandy and then approached Schmetz for the battle of Bull. In addition to the military equipment he also wore a camera and after the war he became a fashion photographer and celebrity. Covid-19 caught up with him last month. As if he had stripped himself of all the bad things life had given him and attributed his survival to simple happiness. (Photo courtesy of Tony Vaccaro via AP)
He may have contracted the virus in April through his son or while walking in their area, his sister-in-law said.
He was in hospital for only two days with mild symptoms and was recovering for another week.
Then he surprised everyone by standing up and shaving.
That’s all, she says. He’s leaving like nothing happened.
The family is working on another documentary about his life before and after the war, but the pandemic has stopped production because it is not safe to bring a film crew to the apartment.
We’re joking that Tony COVID-19 survived because he wants to tell the rest of his story, says Maria Vaccaro.
But it also reminded him of his happiness.
I feel really happy on my back, he said. And I can go anywhere on this earth and get over it.
(This story was published by a telegraphic agency without the text being changed. Only the title has been changed).
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