Bronze / 2010 / Book / Fine Art

Jesus Is On The Mainline

  • Photographer
    Bill Vaccaro

While growing up in a working class Italian neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, Bill Vaccaro thought that blur was normal â?? that is, until his parents took him to the optometrist to correct his nearsightedness. Still, he felt more comfortable in the blur than in the sharpness. It was like a soft, really good (but well-worn) security blanket.

A self-taught photographer, Bill suppressed his blurry memories by shooting photos with cameras with tack-sharp lenses sporting names such as Leitz, Nikkor and Zeiss. Then he saw his first toy camera photos. He was hooked. He picked up a Holga and, later on, a Diana clone called a Windsor that he affectionately named Princess Di.

He shoots almost exclusively with toy cameras, medium format view cameras, and obscure (and not so obscure) film cameras modified with homemade shift-tilt lenses culled from cheap loupes, crappy magnifying glasses, and battered enlarging lenses, bellows torn from old Polaroid cameras, used extension tubes, and gobs of black gaffers tape.

Bill's work has been exhibited nationally and is part of the Studio collection at wallspace gallery in Seattle, Washington. Twelve images from his Jesus Is On The Mainline series were recently chosen by juror Rixon Reed to be exhibited and published in the Center for Fine Art Photography's publication, Artists' Showcase Portfolio, 2nd edition. His images have been featured in publications such as F-Stop, SHOTS, Light Leaks, Love, Chicago, and Other. His photos have also appeared online in Flak Photo, File Magazine, and mooncruise.com. He holds bachelor and masters degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Bill currently makes his home in Chicago, Illinois with his wife and son.