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Larry Racioppo
June 13, 2023

We never had much artwork in our home. The visual centerpiece of our living room was a symmetrical arrangement of three framed photographs: my parents’ hand oiled color wedding portrait in the center, flanked by the black and white high school graduation photos of me and my younger brother Robert.

My parents, Carmella and Anthony Racioppo, displayed this same wedding portrait in each of their three Brooklyn apartments. I grew up seeing it every day. As I learned about photography, I realized what a good photograph it was: a professionally lighted studio portrait taken with a Century view camera. The 8 X 10 inch black and white negative was printed unto 14 X 18 inch paper and then hand-oiled in color.

One day when I was about thirty years old, my father pointed to the wedding photo and said “When your Mom and I die, I want you to have this.”

I’ve had the photograph since 2013.

Throughout my career, I’ve photographed family gatherings at my parents’ apartment. As I was choosing photographs for BROOKLYN BEFORE, my 2019 book about pre-gentrified South Brooklyn, I was pleasantly surprised by how often my parents’ wedding photo appeared in my photographs.


My parents wedding photo


Wedding and Graduation photos, 1976


Christmas presents and television, 1971    


My brother and parents after dinner, 1976


My father telling a story, 1971


My Aunt Anna telling a story, 1971


My father, 1971


   My mother, 1977


My Uncle George, 1978


My mother, 1978


My cousin Joe in the doorway, 1979


  My Uncle Lucky and me, 1979

In 1980 my parents moved from Sunset Park to 18th Street in the South Slope. The wedding photo was now a solo act, first in the bedroom, then in the dining room.


My parents’ bedroom, 1980


My father in the dining room, 1985    


After his death in 2013, my parents’ wedding photograph had a place of honor next to my dad’s coffin.


My father at Lockwood Funeral Home, 2013                     

After his burial, I received some of my father’s belongings, including his wallet with two photos under clear plastic.


My dad’s wallet, 2013


Graduation party, 1975    


Comments / 5 comments

A moving account of a long and evidently loving relationship. The graduation party photo is just gorgeous.
3 months ago  
Thank you Larry for sharing these. You brought back so many memories of growing up in an Italian American family. Your parents and family portraits are outstanding.
3 months ago  
Like seeing one of your shows in person. Awesome. You look like both your parents as they appear in the wedding photo. What a great collection of photographs.
3 months ago  
A beautiful tribute!
3 months ago  
So many memories!
3 months ago  

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