Ron Galella is the most famous — or infamous, depending on your point of view — photographer to ever capture celebrities on film. The pioneering paparazzo has made a living for more than 50 years by stalking stars and getting shots of them when they least expected it. He was sued by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, punched in the jaw by Marlon Brando, and beaten by Richard Burton’s bodyguards. The subject of an award-winning documentary directed by Leon Gast, as well as two current New York solo exhibitions, the 79-year old Galella shows no signs of slowing down.
His images of a wind-blown Jackie crossing Madison Avenue, Andy Warhol and pals partying at Studio 54, Robert Redford stylishly stepping out of a limo, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger facing off onstage, and Al Pacino trying to remain incognito are classic celebrity shots, which have found their way into countless magazines and, more recently, museum collections. Dubbed “Paparazzo Extraordinaire” by Newsweek, Galella turned snapshot photography into an art form.
Smash His Camera: The Notorious Photographs of Ron Galella is on view at New York’s Clic Gallery through June 30 and Ron Galella: Smash His Camera runs through August 20 at Staley Wise Gallery in New York. Meanwhile, Leon Gast’s documentary, Smash His Camera, which was recently aired on HBO, will soon be released internationally by Magnolia Pictures.
Ron Galella, Jackie Onassis. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella in pursuit of Jackie Onassis. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, John Lennon and Mick Jagger. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, Andy Warhol.©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella in pursuit of Marlon Brando. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, Sophia Loren. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, Robert Redford. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, Steve Rubell, Liza Minelli, Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol and Halston at Studio 54. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, Al Pacino. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, Warren Beatty. ©Ron Galella Ltd
Ron Galella, Marlon Brando and Dick Cavett. ©Ron Galella Ltd