Friday, August 20, 2010

Ron Galella, Paparazzo and proud of it

'Smash This Camera': Galella On His Iconic Shots. From the NRP article from August 11, 2010:

"Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sued him. Marlon Brando broke his jaw. To the celebrities he hunted down, paparazzo Ron Galella was the enemy. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sued him. Marlon Brando broke his jaw. The documentary, "Smash His Camera" chronicles Galella's career as "the Godfather of the U.S. paparazzi culture."

I found this audio article interesting and recommend listening to it. I enjoyed hearing it for three reasons. One is that Paparazzi have always fascinated and terrified me, much like clowns do some people; and its always been interesting to me to hear their rationalizations for doing what they do. Two, Galella has indeed taken some of the most iconic shots in our history over the course of his career.

Three, would be simply that I used to live next door to Jackie Kennedy Onassis in Manhattan in the '70s. She had a corner house on a street where I lived next door in an apartment building. In fact, in an apartment that eventually, Anthony Quinn bought for his family, along with that entire floor, making it into his condo. I have the newspaper article about it the elevator operator lady sent some time after moving back home from NY. It was a nice neighborhood, across the street from Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

But, that's all about me.

Its interesting to hear someone talk about how public figures have no rights when in public because they are, by definition, public figures. They argue that anyone has the right to abuse their image, their actions, by sharing them indiscriminately, with the world, and for money in the most mercenary of ways. Its also interesting how they rationalize, that he wouldn't ever take shots of these people in their homes or their private areas of their lives, but only in the public areas. Well, that's something I suppose. But its also why celebs move places like the South of France (Johnny Depp), where no one cares who they are and where they can be treated like just ordinary people. And who wouldn't want that? OK, maybe some, but they stay in Hollywood most the time, don't they.

Its interesting to note, that the term, Paparazzi, is rumored to be Italian for "cockroach".

Wikipedia claims:

"In his book Word and Phrase Origins, Robert Hendrickson writes that Fellini took the name from an Italian dialect that describes a particularly annoying noise, that of a buzzing mosquito. This version of the word's origin has been strongly contested."

However, according to the, Online Etymology Dictionary:

"1961, from It. Paparazzo (pl. paparazzi) surname of the freelance photographer in Federico Fellini's 1959 film "La Dolce Vita." The name itself is of no special significance; it is said to be a common one in Calabria, and Fellini is said to have borrowed it from a travel book, "By the Ionian Sea," in which occurs the name of hotel owner Coriolano Paparazzo."

Regardless of their name, they are invaders of famous people's privacy, which they claim they have no legal claim to. Sad. Justifying your career choice and lifestyle by draining a person's dignity into the mainstream media to satisfy the public's morbid fascination with a person's actions and personality.

I guess you can see my orientation here, how I feel about this culture of photographers. Also, why I've always said, "Between fame and fortune, I'll take the fortune."

Every time.

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