Caponigro was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied with Minor White and has been awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships and three grants from the NEA. His best known photograph is Running White Deer.Caponigro's first one-man exhibition took place at the George Eastman House in 1958. In the 1960s Caponigro taught photography part-time at Boston University while consulting the Polaroid Corporation on various technical research.
Caponigro's work is included in the collections of the Guggenheim, Whitney, Norton Simon Museum, Museum of New Mexico and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.His son, John Paul Caponigro, is a noted digital photographic artist.
“I often see the materials of photography as being a type of terrain. Emulsions, liquid developers, silver salts, and fixers interact, and I construct a landscape that I need to first explore in my mind’s eye if I am to make it manifest as an artful image in silver.”
"Photography is a medium, a language, through which I might come to experience directly, live more closely with, the interaction between myself and nature."
"At the root of creativity is an impulse to understand, to make sense of random and often unrelated details. For me, photography provides an intersection of time, space, light, and emotional stance. One needs to be still enough, observant enough, and aware enough to recognize the life of the materials, to be able to 'hear through the eyes'."