It has been a pleasure and an honor to see Bill Vaccaro’s creative work over the last 5 years. Our path crossed in Houston in 2008 and in 2009 Bill Vaccaro was part of our New Directions exhibition, and I fell in love with his series on faith, Jesus is on the Mainline. Bill has a great sense of humor and biting wit. His work is always smart and introspective, allowing us to question our own beliefs without insisting on following his. The newest story from Bill is Things She Left Behind. Powerful, honest, moving. Open. Bill has laid his soul open for all of us to see, and I was humbled by the story, and the power of the work. His use of alternative processes to create the work adds to the layered tale, giving each image an object quality, meshed with dreams, aspirations, honesty and simple beauty. Take a deep breath and you might need tissues, I did. Please take a closer look at Bill’s website for the balance of the images in this series. You will be glad you did.
The Things She Left Behind
It was the summer of 1995 when my first wife suddenly died. Our adopted son was only 2-1/2 years old. While we eventually were able to achieve some sense of normalcy in our lives after years of grief and loss, it was never easy for him to deal with the feeling that, to use his own words, that he “was robbed.” Our son, now a young adult, remembers little about the person who he calls his “old mom.”
Several months after her death, I gathered together many of her favorite things and put them in an old storage chest donated by close friends. These included diaries, sketchbooks, favorite jewelry, photographs, things she sewed and knitted – even the very possessions she carried with her the day she died – so he could have something that truly belonged to her, even as he struggled to remember this now mysterious person who had loved him so dearly.
But how does one visually depict those fragments of memory that remain when someone so young loses a parent and all that’s left are her treasured possessions. I chose to combine the wet plate collodion process with alternative print processes to show what it might be like to see through the eyes of a child still struggling to recall a significant part of his past that’s been clouded forever by the relentlessness of time.
About Bill Vaccaro –
Born in Buffalo, NY, Bill Vaccaro is a fine art photographer based in Chicago. He holds bachelor and master degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His work has been exhibited nationally at wallspace gallery, Santa Barbara, CA; Houston Center for Photography; RayKo Photo Center, San Francisco; Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University, Waco, TX; Center for Fine Art Photography. Fort Collins, CO; Dishman Art Center, Beaumont, TX; and Soho Photo Gallery, New York. His work has appeared in print and online in B&W Magazine, SHOTS, Fraction Magazine, BLUR and National Public Radio’s Picture Show blog. He was recently honored as one of the “Best of the Best” emerging fine art photographers for 2012 by BWGallerist.com.
To see more of Bill’s work, please log onto his website.