Morristown commissioned artist’s photo exhibit captures unsung heroes

By Jillian Risberg

Xiomaro by Barbara Cittadino

He is an accomplished artist, whose photos are uniquely distinctive. Xiomaro (as he’s known) shoots iconic historical sites to raise awareness of their history, culture, and natural beauty.

And he is a Morristown National Historical Park commissioned artist.

According to Xiomaro, that journey has allowed him to stretch his creativity.

“It’s a challenge and puzzle to come away with interesting artistic photographs about an epic human story in the absence of the people who were involved,” says the photographer. “So I improve as an artist, become a better-informed citizen, and develop a deeper appreciation for the beginnings of our nation.”

He calls his newest collection, At Home with George at the Morris Museum an opportunity to reintroduce George Washington’s headquarters and the encampment of his troops during the Revolutionary War.

“This important national treasure – not just locally or state-wide, but to the nation and the global community as well on the 90th anniversary of Morristown National Historical Park (2023),” Xio says.

The photographer has a couple of favorite shots from this exhibition, one he says is a Chippendale style mirror

Soldiers’ Hut in Snow

believed to have been in Washington’s bedroom. 

“As I gazed within the ornately gilded frame, it was fascinating to think that Washington’s face may have been reflected on the very spot where I was seeing myself,” says Xiomaro. “So I knew that a photograph of that mirror was a must-have.”

He also cites his image of the Servants’ Quarters as one that piques interest.

The bedroom is shrouded in darkness that he says evokes a sense of melancholy.

“The reddish-brown of the footboard against the green foliage outside the window also gives the composition an almost abstract quality,” the photographer says, adding that visiting the actual historical site and seeing the rooms and furnishings that lived with Washington and other iconic figures is a visceral experience.

That is what Xio tries to convey through his photographs.

Soldiers’ Hut

“Especially in close-up images of details that might go unnoticed,” says the artist, adding he hopes the exhibit will serve as a gateway for viewers to learn more.

“If you are an artist, photographer, history buff, architect, interior designer, veteran, public servant, educator, or anyone with a thirst for knowledge, there are many elements you will appreciate during a visit to At Home With George.”

It was important to Xio to honor our nation’s unsung heroes, from Washington to the troops who suffered injury and death, widow Theodosia Ford who gave up her home for use as military headquarters, the servants and slaves who provided support.

“Everyone had a part in fighting for independence from England, which was a superpower at that time,” he says. 


Contrasting the hardships experienced during the colonial era and the sacrifices in dimly lit corners encompass just what Washington and soldiers faced every day in the decades-long fight for freedom.


According to Xiomaro, the written history impactfully describes the suffering endured fighting a war during the worst winter of the 18th century.  

“It is not possible to photograph George Washington, his staff and troops,” the artist says paintings from that era

Aides’ and Dignitaries’ Room

tend to be idealized or romanticized depictions. “But I can resurrect their spirits when I photograph their homes, workplaces, material possessions, and the surrounding landscape.”

Xio says he often hears that his photographs look like paintings, not something he consciously does.  

“I can only surmise it is because before photography I studied painting and it’s history,” he says artists like Goya, Rembrandt and Vermeer are among his favorites. “I think my handling of natural light, shadows and color has a connection to their works.”

Thanks to a grant from Morris Arts, in 2023 Xio’s camera will next take him to the Morris    County Historical Society to present an exhibition (raising public awareness of the history,culture and natural beauty of Morris County) at its Acorn Hall house museum. It is the first time the locations are being artistically photographed. Dates and details are in the works.

Xiomaro – Washingtons’ Bedroom

To learn more Weir Farm National Historic Site (Arcadia Publishing)  (, national park dedicated to American painting and commemorated on the US quarter… where Xio’s work photographing iconic national sites began.

In memory of his daughter (poet/painter who died in 2016 from a drug overdose after years

  struggling with borderline personality disorder)… 10 percent of book royalties will be donated to Emotions Matter, Inc., a nonprofit mental health care advocacy group. 


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