John Joseph Vallera: Born in Hartford Connecticut.


At the age of seven, he became interested working with his father developing film and making contact prints from the family's Brownie box camera. "I remember the thrill of watching the images slowly appear while the paper was soaking in the developer". "It was like magic!"

By age 12 he made an enlarger out of an old slide projector and remembers having to plug it in for only a split second to achieve a printable image. "It is amazing what you can do with limited resources when you really put your mind to it".


He studied photography at the University of Hartford Art School and was originally fascinated by post card and calendar type scenery images but became amazed with fine art portraiture after attending a show of his first Instructor, Mary Frey. "I was overwhelmed by the level of emotion that could be transmitted through the lens of a view camera". "I felt as though I could reach out and touch the inner soul of some of her subjects". "I knew from that moment on that this was what I had to do".


He decided to spend less time with scenery images and try photographing people. "It proved much more difficult than taking a picture of a tree or clouds for me because a mutual understanding must be reached for sucessful results to occur".