Alicia Dallago’s journey with images initially took form significantly outside Western Pennsylvania.
Above a 40-12 months vocation guiding a camera, she attained various accolades, which includes two Kodak Gallery awards.
Dallago, operator of Alicia Images, was a portrait photographer in the North Hills for 36 many years. For the past calendar year, she has operated a picture restoration studio out of her property in Manor using skills refined in the course of the darkest times of the pandemic.
Dallago came to the United States from Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1977 with her then-spouse and two sons, who were being 4 and 6. Her partner had a perform permit for a position in Cleveland, but she did not.
“The only issue that I could legally do was volunteer (at) a museum or go to university,” explained Dallago, 81. “I didn’t communicate English, and I experienced hardly ever pushed in the snow. I considered going downtown to the museum location — it was out of the query.”
Photography quickly captured her eye.
Dallago enrolled in images classes at a group faculty in Cleveland and fell in adore with the art form. She acquired an award from the Cleveland Museum of Art at a person of the 1st pictures reveals she entered.
Regardless of her enthusiasm for photography, Dallago recognized she had a good deal to find out just after booking her to start with two portrait pictures contracts.
“I didn’t know everything about posing, so my posing was awful,” Dallago explained. “My lights was even even worse.”
Seven yrs afterwards, Dallago’s spouse was transferred to Pittsburgh for operate.
“I remaining all of my errors at the rear of,” Dallago reported. “But then I realized that I didn’t know everything.”
She researched under a learn photographer for a number of several years and opened her have studio in the North Hills in 1986, soon right after she and her partner submitted for divorce.
To continue on honing her craft, she enrolled in lessons at the Winona Global School of Skilled Photography — a department of Expert Photographers of The us — which operated from 1921 to 1984. She realized a selection of pictures styles and strategies, taking pictures distinct pictures each and every 7 days and getting critiques from her instructors.
Her studio started to expand.
She experienced a serious knack for capturing expressions, claimed Kay Bush, Dallago’s previous studio manager and shut close friend of 30 several years.
“When she worked with little ones, she was down on the flooring with them,” explained Bush of Allegheny Township. “It was exciting to look at her do the job.”
By way of photography, Dallago located ways to give back to the local community.
In place of a portrait sitting down price, she acknowledged toys from her clientele, which she donated to North Hills Community Outreach for Xmas.
Dallago designed a scholarship for gals with young children who preferred to return to faculty.
She produced funding as a result of her studio get the job done. The recipients — a lot of of whom ended up one moms or domestic violence survivors — were being picked by the outreach and the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber.
“She is an energetic leader, especially towards females who need to have a lift,” Bush said. “She is seriously useful with that.”
When Bush herself necessary a elevate, Dallago was there.
The two satisfied through a divorce aid group held in a nearby church and became quick pals. They went on walks “most just about every evening” to commiserate, Bush mentioned.
“Sometimes, the angrier we were being, the speedier we walked,” Bush reported. “But other occasions, we just experienced a really great time and savored staying alongside one another.”
For Dallago, pictures was more than a work.
“There’s folks that take their work as a job,” Dallago said, “and there are people like me (for whom) it has in no way been a occupation. It was my lifetime.”
Dallago shut her studio in 2012. She shot portraits out of her residence, making use of the wildflowers and drinking water element in her property as backgrounds.
Then the pandemic hit.
Not able to securely invite clients into her house for portraits, Dallago grew to become frustrated.
Whilst decluttering her household, Dallago arrived across a number of old photos of her loved ones, including a candid shot of her mother and father holding her as a infant. Her mom hated having her photo taken, Dallago claimed. It touched her to see her mother’s pure expression and smile once more.
Dallago observed a new way. She commenced restoring and boosting aged pics — fixing spots that were darkish, blurry, torn, scratched or stained. Quickly, she realized other people may possibly want the very same.
“When you are a business enterprise particular person, the concept of a small business is often there,” she mentioned.
Immediately after going to Manor to be closer to her son, she opened her home photograph restoration studio on Sandy Hill Road. She has stuck with the practice given that.
Dallago is however seeking for companies to assist in her new Manor local community.
“I informed my son, ‘I’m not likely to get involved in the community. I’m not likely to be a chamber member,’ ” she stated. “I went downtown (all through my very first 7 days in Manor), I saw the (Norwin Chamber of Commerce) on Principal Street, I walked in and I left being a member.
“I thought, ‘No, I have to be a portion of this.’ ”