Terry Vitacco - Photo by Miles Boone.
Terry Vitacco began her career as a photojournalist and writer. She photographed people on location for editorial, corporate and advertising clients for her commercial photography business. Vitacco went on to become a Photography Professor and Coordinator for the College of DuPage Photo Program while making time to photograph personal projects.
She transitioned from documentary portraiture and imagery seven years ago. She now creates dreamlike portraits and surreal composites, such as her "Meta Mama Operas" series. That kicked off her new direction and style of work.
These fantastical composites are created from Vitacco's original photos, old family pictures and scanned artifacts. They capture emotion and illustrate family dysfunction in a creative and humorous way, using symbolism.
"I am excited to share and illustrate these 'operas' - images that celebrate the love, contradictions, dysfunction, mystery, melancholy, humor and dreams of family life," says Vitacco.
While working on the "Meta Mama Operas" series, Vitacco realized that many of the vintage items she featured in the composites were unique and significant and deserved their own images. That sparked the "Precious Artifacts" series.
Those photos are portraits of women and feature the clothing, jewelry, accessories, trinkets and sentimental items hoarded by Vitacco's late mother. Such tchotchkes would be worthless to almost anyone else, but helped Vitacco celebrate her mother's memory.
Vitacco has displayed her work in solo and group exhibitions and is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) and the Professional Photographers of Northern Illinois (PPANI).
Now retired and a Professor Emeritus at College of DuPage, Vitacco was recognized as Outstanding Faculty during her tenure. She taught introductory, intermediate and advanced photography in both film and digital media.
In every course, she stressed the importance of "real world" photography skills, teaching creative vision and business savvy. Vitacco not only encouraged students to go out into the world and practice their craft, she launched two ongoing programs to display and promote their work.
One is the Easterseals Annual Exhibition, which pairs students with families of children with disabilities, to create large gallery portraits and documentary videos. The project is in its 21st year.
Vitacco also created the Exposed Photography Showcase, a competition for COD and area high school students. It promotes their work and allows the young emerging photographers to get jobs and scholarships. It is now in its sixth year.
After 30 years of teaching and promoting her students' work, Vitacco can now focus more on her composite and portrait photography.