Paul Fusco was born in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1930 and started pursuing photography as a hobby in 1945. During the Korean War from 1951 to 1953 he gained more experience with it as he worked as a photographer for the United States Army Signal Corps. After the war he studied photojournalism at Ohio University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1957. From there, he moved to New York City to work professionally as a photographer.
Fusco first worked for Look. He became an associate of Magnum Photos in 1973 and a full member a year later.