Joe Viesti has made a habit of returning to Temple Rome at least once a decade since his study abroad semester here in the fall of 1970, the first semester of the Liberal Arts Program in Rome. While he did not realize it at the time, Joe’s semester filled with exploring his ‘classroom’ that was the city of Rome had a profound impact on his path in life. While here, Joe became seriously interested in photography. A post-graduate stint in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, followed by a 3 month solo journey through Southeast and Central Asia, solidified his commitment to photography. After a 7-month drive from Washington, D.C. to the Panama Canal, continuing on to Colombia, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Haiti, Joe moved to New York City to pursue his career in photojournalism. He realized he needed to focus on a niche, and chose international celebrations, as a positive theme he could document in every culture. In all, Joe has covered approximately 300 events in 105 countries. In 1984, this collection was tapped for the UNICEF 52-week Engagement Calendar – marking the only time UNICEF chose the work of a single artist for this publication. This was followed up with a 40-city exhibition tour of my work, raising $3 million dollars for UNICEF. In all, Joe has been the exclusive or principal photographer of 40 books, in addition to thousands of images published for editorial or advertising use. What Joe has noticed with his photographer’s sharp eye and attention to detail is that everything, even ancient monuments in Rome, and yes, even Temple Rome, changes over time. Joe was happy to return recently to Temple Rome and see the many positive changes and enhancements made to his alma mater, and he looks forward to coming back to the Eternal City for the 50th anniversary. “This,” he writes, “is one celebration that I would not want to miss.”
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