The photographer’s work provides a stark illustration of the hold that celebrity has on our culture.
“My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous,” the artist Andy Warhol wrote, in 1979. “It’s being in the right place at the wrong time. That’s why my favorite photographer is Ron Galella.”
He personified the paparazzi — brazen and relentless in chasing the famous, particularly Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. But his pictures also came to be admired.
Mr. Galella was called a creep, a stalker and worse when he began shooting pictures of celebrities in the 1960s, before mass circulation magazines like People and Us made the presence of paparazzi like him ubiquitous — and a full generation before phone cameras and websites like TMZ made celebrity stalking the pastime of legions.
“The paparazzi culture has changed drastically,” he says. “When I did it, you had the great freedom to shoot—no fans, no security, no publicists. And I don’t miss it too much because I have the gold in my files.”
“Heres the thing, we want you to stalk him and take his picture paparazzi style. The story is already written and Ron Galella has been interviewed BUT he won’t be expecting you because we are not telling him you are coming. You are going to have to stalk him. We want you to capture him in a totally unguarded moment”