An exhibition called PAPARAZZI! at the WestLicht Museum of Photography in Vienna comprises around 120 works by close to 20 photographers and covers a period from the late 1950s through to the 2000s.
Despised, disputed, adored: Paparazzi are undoubtedly among the most colourful figures in the history of photography! Their pictures, obtained by ingenious and ruthless means, are seen by millions of people, yet the names of the photographers are hardly known and their public reputation is low. The term Paparazzi goes back to the photographer of the same name in Federico Fellini’s film classic La Dolce Vita and was long considered a slur. Only recently has the view on the history of the genre changed. Today, the images of outstanding representatives such as Ron Galella and Marcello Geppetti are appreciated
as unbiased portraits and testimonies to an era.
A particular focus is on the 1960s and 1970s, when photographers such as Galella, Geppetti, Tazio Secchiaroli, and Elio Sorci defined the profession between Rome and the USA, Cinecittà and Hollywood. In their search for the ultimate scoop, they followed actors and other public figures, including Brigitte Bardot, Marlon Brando, Romy Schneider, Richard Burton and Jackie Kennedy, with their cameras – while also capturing the glamour of high society. This sometimes led to memorable encounters: Anita Ekberg, star of La Dolce Vita, defended herself against the intrusive Paparazzi with bow and arrow, Ron Galella’s persistent pursuit of Marlon Brando resulted in the loss of several teeth.
The exhibition PAPARAZZI! explores the history, methods, and aesthetics of Paparazzi photography. It examines the controversial aspects of the genre using the examples of Lady Diana and Britney Spears and sheds light on the fascination that the phenomenon has repeatedly exerted on other areas of photography and art with series by Helmut Newton, Anton Corbijn, Alison Jackson, and the Austrian artist group G.R.A.M.