After the photographer died in a pandemic, the Brattleboro Show honors his work | Local news
Marco Grimaldi’s dream was to become a photographer.
He’d lived in Brooklyn for about seven years and had started a photography business with two friends that did creative headshots for artists, actors, and models.
“After seeing his work, I realized that it’s not just a picture of someone’s head, it’s fashion, it’s art,” said Grimaldi’s mother, Susan Rosano. “… It’s a way of getting someone’s attention.”
In February 2020 – when COVID-19 spread in the US but before it turned daily life upside down – Grimaldi, 31, was certain he had contracted the disease, despite Rosano saying it wasn’t testing available to confirm. Over time, he began to feel fine, until about a month later he noticed red spots on his feet and hands.
“It turns out he had bone marrow failure. So that ruins your immune system, it really kills it completely, and that’s what you can get from a virus,” said Rosano of Guilford, Vt.
His doctor believed that COVID-19 most likely caused his bone marrow failure, she said.
Grimaldi was put on a bone marrow transplant list, and although 10 matches were found in New York City alone, his mother said no one donated out of fear of contracting the virus.
By June 30, doctors in Europe found a match for him and had it shipped overnight, but it was too late. Grimaldi died on July 2nd.
“Marco’s immune system went down, down, down, and all of these infections happened,” Rosano said. “… His bone marrow was gone and his heart had an infection.”
In his honor, Rosano submitted his photography to the Latchis Art Gallery in Brattleboro. The show, which will air on Main Street through the end of the month, will be the first to feature Grimaldi’s work.
“The whole thing is very valuable and a nice memory of my creative son,” she said.
Growing up in Cromwell, Connecticut, Grimaldi first tried photography as a freshman in high school. He soon became passionate about it, said Rosano, and attended Hartford Academy of the Arts in his senior year of high school.
He studied photography at Burlington College in Vermont before moving to Brooklyn to pursue a career.
In addition to his photography business, Grimaldi worked full-time as a private investigator in New York City. Because of that steady income, he often shot headshots for people whether or not they could pay, Rosano added.
Grimaldi’s Latchis show – called PoloShoots, a nod to his eponymous company – opened on July 2, the first anniversary of his death, and features 35 of his photos. The factory can only be visited by appointment until July 31st.
Most of the show was put together by Rosano herself, with the help of printing from the Vermont Center for Photography in Brattleboro. She said it was always Grimaldi’s hope to have his own show one day, but he could never afford to make up for the cost despite her offers.
“I always asked him about it and he said, ‘I don’t have the money to do my own show.’ Living in Brooklyn, especially, would cost an arm and a leg to rent a room and make the frames and mats, “she said.
Latchi’s executive director Jon Potter said the exhibition was the perfect first post-pandemic show.
“I had a strong feeling that the Latchis should do this and I was deeply moved to have the opportunity,” he said in an email. “During the pandemic, I focused on the role Latchis can play in helping our community manage and process the pandemic and its profound effects. The presentation of Marco’s photographs is a useful way of doing this. “
Going forward, Rosano said she had no plans to send her son’s photos to other galleries as it took so much work to put on a show. (Plus, most of his pieces have already been claimed by family and friends.)
But having the Latchis show as a final farewell to him felt “really good,” Rosano said, helping her mourn her son.
“He’s been a really wonderful, creative person since the day he was born,” she said, “and it feels like a real high point in his life to me – happy and sad at the same time.”
To book an appointment for the PoloShoots show at the Latchis Art Gallery, contact Susan Rosano at [email protected]