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Pioneer Paparazzo Ron Galella dies aged 91 – Brad Elterman remembers his friend

Jackie Onassis and Ron Galella at the Dorthy Chandler Music Center Pavilion Los Angeles circa 1976. Exclusive photo by Brad Elterman
Ron (with the tape measure) had been given a restraining order by a court not allowing him within 25 feet of Jackie.
Brad: “It was 1976 and Jackie was making a rare visit to Los Angeles. The courts in New York had slapped Ron with a 25 foot restraining order and he was ready with his tape measure. Somehow I had scored a press credential to take photos inside the event but Ron explained to me that the best photos happen outside these events. I knew in advance about the tape measure and sure enough, after taking some incredibly uninspiring photos of Jackie inside, I followed her to the limo and there was Ron with his tape measure! He just wanted to make sure that he never got too close.”

Photographer Ron Galella died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday 30 April at home in New Jersey. He was 91.

Ron’s friend celebrity photographer Brad Elterman has sent PAN the above image of Ron and these memories:
“I remember a long time ago when I was a kid with a camera in my teens still trying to figure my way into the photo industry, I would read articles about Ron Galella in Time and Newsweek. Wow! How amazing that this dashing guy was all over the world taking these tremendous photos of major stars. These were real stars, no influencers in sight.”

“I could barley contain myself when I met him at an awards show. He was so approachable. Ron spent hours with me and many other young photographers sharing his passion for photography. Ron was not in this business for the money, It was much more than that. It was a passion for his work.”

“He was the very first photographer to become a global brand with his “Paparazzi Approach” business cards, letterhead, Paparazzi Jacket, helmet, books, exhibitions and tv appearances. No one came close.”

“Some publicists tried to sabotage his work, but at the end of the day Ron prevailed and his work now hangs today at MoMA. Walker Evans took photos of people on the subway. Helen Levitt took photos of beautiful children playing in the streets of Harlem and there was Ron smiling and running down Fifth Ave taking breathtakingly glamorous photos of Jackie Onassis.”

“He never stopped. A tireless worker who adored his work. A kind soul who was one of a kind. He sure will be missed.”

• Ron had just finished his new book 100 ICONIC Photographs – A Retrospective

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