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Willem and Elaine de Kooning, photographed in East Hampton, New York, 1953 Opposite: Jackson Pollock, photographed in East Hampton, New York, 1953 Georgia O’Keeffe, photographed in New Mexico, 1960

In addition to his startlingly insightful photos of ordinary folks, Vaccaro also gained renown as a celebrity photographer of sorts, whose portraits grace the pages of LIFE, Look, and Flair. Pablo Picasso, Peggy Guggenheim, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning, among others, agreed to sit for him. In each, he manages to tease out the essential quality of every person at whom he points his lens, from a teenage Sophia Loren, just beginning to realize the power of her beauty, to a painwracked John F. Kennedy, to the playful competition between Anna Magnani and Sugar Ray Leonard as they arm wrestle. Vaccaro humbly and matter-of-factly

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recalls these encounters with the elite and elegant. “I didn’t photograph famous people like Picasso because they were famous,” he says. “I went to Picasso as a human being, as Tony Vaccaro, nothing special. They were not special to me. They were human beings in different shoes.” In her essay in Italian American Review on Tony Vaccaro’s 2017 Monroe Gallery–organized Chelsea, Manhattan, show, Evelyn Burg refers to Tony Vaccaro’s “vision of war, peace, and a resilient, insistent beauty,” and she comments that “Some of Vaccaro’s formal fashion shots echo the classic compositions or color schemes of Renaissance masters, and even his com-

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