Tony began his career with National Geographic Magazine in 1971. Since then, his camera has taken him to over thirty countries in as many years – from Iceland to the Amazon.
Like most photographers, he is a series of contrasts: His lens has captured the frozen landscapes of Iceland and the sweltering jungles of the Amazon.
He is probably most known for his beautiful travel photography, yet while working with the human figure, his sensitivity rivals that of the great painters. Indeed, his artistic life began as a young painter trained in the classical manner. He studied classical piano at the prestigious Eastman School of Music and taught himself to play the bluegrass banjo. He lived in Brazil as a teenager and Italy as a college student. In 1995, he returned to Rome to continue painting and to learn how to sculpt in the classical manner under one of Rome’s most gifted sculptors, Alessandro Nocera.
Boccaccio’s very first photograph was of a man, the figure of Hercules in the Orion constellation. He was 13 years old and had just purchased his first camera. “I believe this first impulse to point my camera upward, to the heavens, is what set the framework for my future photography: to make visible what can’t easily be seen by the naked eye – to capture in my figures the activities of their soul.”
“I have often been asked why I prefer photographing the male figure; the assumption is usually that I must be gay otherwise I’d be photographing the female instead. Actually, sexual orientation has nothing to do with great photography. I didn’t photograph any nudes, male or female, until I was already 20 years into my professional life both as a National Geographic photographer and a freelancer.
Over the years, I had seen a million female nudes and they all began to look alike. Most seemed to simply objectify the female as a sex object, not a real person. Most images of women came out of the Playboy mentality – a false notion of the beauty and mystery of our sexuality, and claiming to be art when it was really only commercialized lust.
I decided that since practically no-one was photographing the male nude (Herb Ritts was one of the first in the late 80’s. Arthur Tress did a lot of homoerotic work in the 60-70’s, but his work, while exceptional, explored the darker side of male sexuality) I wanted to explore new territory, and to make images of men that revealed more than just their bodies, as beautiful as they were. I wanted to say something about their whole person, including their sexuality – whatever it was, and to give expression to their individual “light”, that hidden quality that makes each person unique.
In 1991 a friend of mine asked me to photography him nude. I did and it was a great image, and I never looked back.
Many of my models have said that not only did I capture something essential and unique about them, but also that my photographs revealed something beautiful and powerful to THEM…something they “felt” but couldn’t easily see or express.
My goal has been exactly that from the start: to reveal the hidden power, beauty, and mystery of the masculine. It’s time we men began to revel in our own beauty and mystery without fear or embarrassment. After all, we are made in the Image of God, Imago Deo."
Getty Images and ImageTrust (Germany) photo agencies represent his photography worldwide. His work is in the permanent collection of fine art of the Neikrug Gallery, New York.
National Geographic Magazine, Time Magazine, Eastman Kodak Company, McGraw Hill, Saturday Evening Post, Psychology Today, Natural History Magazine, and many international corporate clients.
Anthony Boccaccio’s images do not belong to the public domain. All images and writing are copyright ©Anthiony A Boccaccio 2013 All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of any of these images without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.