By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
WELLAND – Tony Gallaccio has become a public eye.
It seems he and his Canon are everywhere.
A sharp shooter, he says: “Photography has given me a great view of life here in Welland, and beyond.”
Here in the Rose City, Gallaccio takes photographs of whatever catches his interest and his gaze.
I started following his work closely last summer when it seemed he was omnipresent at sports events like the Pan Am canoe/kayak sprint races at the flatwater centre, and rowing, dragonboat and Barrelman Triathlon events that shone a light on Welland’s potential as a world-class racing venue.
More recently, I found myself admiring two very good samplings of his pictures: features at two Welland churches, Eglise du Sacré-Coeur and his own parish, Saints Peter and Paul. He succeeded in showcasing not only liturgical heritage and beauty but church architecture that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Of course, Gallaccio shows up for a wide range of community events as well: Rose Festival and Santa Claus parades, Food Festival, concerts by the canal, winter lights competition and New Year’s Eve celebration being just a handful of examples.
His public work has given him a recognition factor in and around the city.
“People see me and ask if I’m with one of the papers in town,” he says. “I tell them that I’m here on my own.”
He says his interest in photography goes back decades but the “passion” he has for it really flourished after his retirement six years ago.
Gallaccio spent 361/2 years with the City of Welland, ending his career as general foreman of roads in the city’s public works department.
His passion for taking photos is rivalled by his passion for Welland. Together, they make a well-focused partnership – pardon the pun.
Other objects of his affection include Welland’s Main Street Bridge, the former County Building, scenery in general and wildlife. I asked him to provide several samples of his work and chose this collection to accompany this piece.
“When you start taking so many pictures, you see a beauty that other people might not recognize especially if they’re just looking at something,” he says.
Gallaccio says photography is a means of expanding friendship, in more ways than one. He says he made many international friends, for example, at last summer’s water sport events in Welland just through interacting with them. And as his interest in social media expands, he has made “friends” in several countries around the globe.
He describes himself a hobbyist but that aforementioned “passion” for picture-taking in his hometown makes Tony Gallaccio a resource with a well-trained eye on community life.