Ron Galella was born in the United States in 1931. American photographer, he is now recognized worldwide as a pioneer of paparazzi photography.
Much has been written about Ron Galella. Considered the most famous and controversial celebrity photographer, he was dubbed “Paparazzi Extraordinary” by Newsweek and “The US Godfather of Paparazzi Culture” by Time and Vanity Fair.
Galella is willing to take significant risks to get the perfect shot. Which earned him, among other things, two high-profile court battles with Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, a broken jaw at the hands of Marlon Brando and a beating by Richard Burton’s bodyguards before being imprisoned in Cuernavaca, Mexico…
But ultimately it was his passion for the art of photography combined with his self-taught approach that shaped his craft – few artists can claim such a level of technical skill in making their own prints – as demonstrated by his work exhibited in many museums and galleries around the world such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and San Francisco, the Tate Moderne in London and the Helmut Newton Foundation Museum of Photography in Berlin.
Ron Galella’s photos have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Time, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair, People, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and The New York Times. But Ron’s passion for photojournalism has also resulted in many highly regarded books such as Disco Years which was awarded “Best Photo Book of 2006” by The New York Times.
Smash His Camera, the documentary about his life and career, directed by Oscar-winning director, Léon Gast, (When we Were Kings, 1996) which opened the Sundance Film Festival, received the Price of the Grand Jury in the category “Best Documentary Film Director”. This film was then broadcast on the BBC and then throughout Europe.
Apart from the recognition he acquired at home in the USA, the government of the Region of Basilicata in Italy granted Ron, whose father, Vincenzo Galella, was born in Muro Lucano, the title of “Honorary Citizen of the Region in 2009”. Ron then published Viva l’Italia!, a book of more than 225 images of Italian and Italian-American celebrities, from Frank Sinatra to Sophia Loren.
Ron Galella died in 2022 at his home in Montville, New Jersey.