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Ralph M. Aiello

75 years of photography


We are pleased to present the works of photojournalist Ralph M. Aiello, (1913-2005) a lifelong Hudson Valley resident.

A native of Maybrook, Aiello dabbled in photography as a teenager, but became seriously interested in photography in 1935, with the purchase of an Argus 35 mm camera, and the beginning of self-education in photography. 

In 1937 (with the help of a bank loan) he purchased a Leica camera, the first precision 35 mm camera. Camera knowledge helped him obtain his first job as a reporter-photographer with the Middletown Times-Herald, a forerunner of the present-day Times Herald Record. He went to work for the Newburgh News in 1939, and remained there in various editorial capacities until his retirement in 1978. While there, he broadened his experiences with the use of large-format cameras and also moonlighted as a commercial and wedding photographer. He also wrote a weekly “Camera Corner” column for about 15 years.

In 1940, he joined the newly-formed Newburgh Camera Club, serving various offices, including several terms as president. He was also a member of the Hudson Valley Color Slide Club and helped organize photography clubs in Walden, Monroe, Middletown and Stewart Field.

In 1970, he joined the Photographic Society of America and won numerous awards for his color slides and black and white prints in photo exhibitions throughout the country. He chaired the PSA’s Photojournalism Division in 1978 and earned a Fellowship in the organization in 1985. He also won the coveted Understanding Through Photography Award, a distinction he shares with such luminaries as Margaret Bourke-White, Ansel Adams and Walt Disney.

Aiello’s interest in photography was broad, ranging from rural scenes to portraits, nature closeups and still life photos. What you see here represents a sampling of his 75 years in photography.

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