Via US Department of Veteran's Affairs
On June 6th, the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, two WWII D-Day Veterans, Judge Bentley Kassal (103) and Photographer Tony Vaccaro (96) will be honored by the Mets during the mid-day game at Citi Field.
Tony Vaccaro served in the Army, attached to the served with the Intel Platoon of the 83rd Infantry Division, 331 Regiment, Headquarters company, to land as part of the D-Day invasion in Normandy. Vaccaro self-assigned himself the role of photographer while serving in the Army. He was a soldier through the occupation of Germany in 1949 and then transitioned from WWII combat photographer to fashion and personality photographer.
Vaccaro has always lived in the moment, prepared to capture the next human story with his camera. He’s also very good with words, vividly evoking scenes from various periods of his own life. He has known and photographed scores of celebrities and legendary people in the arts like the composer Shostakovich and the French Mime Marcel Marceau and stayed friendly with many of them for decades.
Vaccaro has taken thousands and thousands of photographs, his most famous are Kiss of Liberation (1944) and GI Dead in Snow (1945). In his Long Island studio, the walls are lined with folders of negatives that are in the process of being digitalized. Hanging on the wall are some of his personal favorites, that include a portrait --- of JFK taken at the White House.
Vaccaro went on to make images for the immensely popular LIFE and LOOK Magazines. He married a Finnish model and had two sons. Later, successful and well known, he worked independently.
Today, Vaccaro is kept busy with shows of his work. He is currently still working at his Archives in Long Island City and has many exhibitions all over the world. He let go of his Archives five years ago and let his family take care of his work. HBO did a documentary on Tony Vaccaro called ‘Underfire’ and it was nominated for outstanding documentary at the 2018 Emmy’s. The human stories of his images are timeless and appreciated now as much as they were a generation or two generations ago.
View Tony Vaccaro's photography here.