Photographer likes Paw Paw subjects
Photographer Tony Rinaldo displayed a series of his photographs of Paw Paw at the Paw Paw Post Office on August 10 and August 11. Rinaldo is a seasonal resident who lives near the Paw Paw area.
Postmaster Lori Moreland offered refreshments and said the show was well-attended. Some of Rinaldo’s Paw Paw photos were purchased during the show. The proceeds will buy supplies for Paw Paw Elementary, Rinaldo said.
Rinaldo enlisted in the Marines in July, 1942 and stayed in for 20 years. He worked different jobs such as anti-aircraft, drill instructor, engineer and recruiter, but kept requesting photography school. Rinaldo said he bought his first camera in Korea and learned to take some fairly good photos by trial and error.
After attending a six-month photography course, Rinaldo was assigned as an official Marine photographer for his last six years of service. He stayed in the field for 53 years, working as a military and a commercial photographer. Rinaldo is now 85 years old.
Rinaldo’s photography was on the cover of Leatherneck Magazine, the official Marine magazine. He also did photography work for Beltway government contractors and worked as a newspaper photographer.
Rinaldo said he was fortunate to be stationed at Quantico where he was exposed to every facet of photography—from portraits of Washington V.I.P.s and three-star generals to photographing the latest equipment being tested.
He also received a commercial pilot’s license and did a lot of aerial photography.
Paw Paw photos
Rinaldo was drawn to take photos of life in Paw Paw—the center of town, various businesses and buildings, front yards with lawn ornaments, churches, portraits of townspeople and ordinary objects that were framed in a striking way.
The theme of his photo essay was “You look, but are you seeing?” Some pictures showed the hard work and efforts homeowners took to keep their yards attractive, he said. Other shots were a visual statement of who people were and what they did for a living.
Scenes Rinaldo captured were a hayrack being hauled up the road, a countertop service bell with a roomful of reflections and a plow in a front yard, which he called “vanishing America.”
He likes all types of photography, but especially loves portraits.
Portraits aren’t just a good image, but they should make you want to talk to the person in the photo, Rinaldo said.
Rinaldo said he always did his own work and never emulated the work of other photographers. He admired the work of photographer Yousuf Karsh, who took the best-known photo of a growling Winston Churchill after grabbing the cigar out of Churchill’s mouth.
Karsh was the guru of portraits during the 1940’s through the 1960’s, Rinaldo said. Karsh would take people’s photos for the first five or ten minutes with an empty film canister. He might take 200 photos and use six, Rinaldo said.
Karsh did portraits of Humphrey Bogart, Albert Einstein, Fidel Castro, Ernest Hemingway, Jacqueline Kennedy as well as many artists, musicians, scientists and statesmen.
Rinaldo also appreciated the work of photographer Richard Avedon, who did famous portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Judy Garland and other artists, dancers and musicians.
Rinaldo is now using a digital camera, but he said he prefers film. He started taking photos on an 8-pound Speed Graphic box camera. It was a good heavy camera to have because things often got physical when someone didn’t want their picture taken, he said.
Taking photos of women and airplanes were always his favorites. Rinaldo also does still life photography and composition.
In landscapes pictures, he always likes to include a plume of life. Rinaldo said he does a lot of mental photography and visits the photo site at different times of the day and night before taking the photo to see when is the best time and best lighting for the shot.
He advised those interested in photography to step beyond snap-shooting.
“I would tell any photographer to think before they take the picture,” Rinaldo said.
He suggested looking past the photo subject to avoid things like wires appearing to come out of someone’s head.
“You can step closer or back or to the side and change perspective. Ask yourself ‘How can I make it better?’ ” he said of taking photos.
Rinaldo said he was blessed to have had a great career, a wonderful wife of 40 years, two caring and compassionate children and great friends. His wife passed away from cancer.
Rinaldo said he loved the Marine Corps and felt lucky.
“I got through two wars without getting hurt,” he said.