Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Steve Vaccariello: Classic Perfection
Fashion and celebrity photographer Steve Vaccariello defies digital gloss to capture the person behind the persona
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
"As soon as I saw my first print emerge from the Dektol solution, I was hooked for life," he recalls. "It was magic as far as I was concerned!"
From there, Vaccariello shot as much as he could, learning from books and a few mentors along the way. He also kept a meticulous log of his efforts, noting what worked and, more importantly to him, what did not. Not long after he graduated high school, Vaccariello began his professional life as a photographer by working for a Cleveland hospital as a medical photographer under the tutelage of Jack Metcalf. He ran the darkroom there and worked his way up to become head of the department when he was only 23. This was a primary and rather macabre training ground for him, where he shot everything from product shots to portraiture, but mostly training his photographic eye on more morbid subject matter like gunshot wounds and open-heart surgery. He thinks that the harsh realities to which he was exposed at such an early age encouraged him to escape into a more imaginative world with his creative pursuits in the future.
"They're easily mimicked in the Photoshop of today's world," says Vaccariello, "but at the time, it was all done with our own two hands and a lot of ingenuity and cleverness!"
It was this portfolio that brought the team instantaneous attention from the advertising agencies and editorial clients in the Cleveland market, which set his career off and running.
Though he primarily works in the digital medium, Vaccariello still shoots film, even now, and he notes that the future of photography may be uncertain, but he expects that the same basic principles always will be there. "I think the future is going to go retro at some point," Vaccariello concludes. "I think people will be gravitating toward the basic foundations of photography that made it an art in the first place. I still have to roll with the technology, and I do embrace it, but I'll always have a warm spot for traditional photography because I think learning that way made me the photographer I am today!"
To see more of Steve Vaccariello's work, visit www.vaccariello.com.
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