7.01.2013

SMASH HIS CAMERA! RON GALELLA PAPARAZZO SUPERSTAR!


Just watched the documentary on celebrity photographer Ron Galella.  "Smash His Camera" Directed by Leon Gast. It was very interesting to me. Paparazzi photography is an "ambush" style of taking photos of famous people.


The word "paparazzi" is an eponym originating in the 1960 film La Dolce Vita directed by Federico Fellini. One of the characters in the film is a news photographer named Paparazzo (played by Walter Santesso). In his book Word and Phrase, Robert Hendrickson writes that Fellini took the name from an Italian dialect word that describes a particularly annoying noise, that of a buzzing mosquito.



Stalking celebrities while they are going about their daily routines is the object of the photos.  Catching them with no makeup, smoking, arguing with a friend, is the ultimate goal.  That means they'll sell those photos for more money than posed photos. Kind of like the "ungettable get".

Ron's favorite photo

Ron was aggressive but friendly. A ot of celebs liked him. Jackie O hated him and was in court fighting Galella twice.  Marlon Brando hit him so hard he knocked out his bottom front teeth. Galella sued Brando and got enough money to fix his teeth. Note Ron's helmet while shooting Brando again!

The packs of photographers chasing celebrities has evolved into an Orwellian 1984 scenario.  Everyone has a video camera/still camera built into their phones. Celebrities are not the icons of yesterday like Frank Sinatra or Elizabeth Taylor.. They are plastic stars like the Kardashians. Manufactured for public consumption. 


The demand for photos has increased as the internet news has made the normal press slow and basically obsolete. The need for Ron's style of work has increased enormously and made much easier due to capturing clear images via digital cameras. As Ron used to have to develop his film manually...now photos are directly uploaded to the internet from cell phones.  So privacy for celebrities is rare...

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