Sunday, November 8, 2015

SEX IN FASHION: Ron Galella's Newest Book

Last Thursday night, we went to Staley Wise Gallery, one of New York's premier photography galleries, for a book signing by one of America's best known photographers, Ron Galella.  Our generation remembers him best for his photographs of Jacqueline Kennedy.  (More about her later.)

Newsweek called him "Paparazzo Extraordinaire" and Time Magazine called him "the Godfather of the U.S. Paparazzi Culture". Marlon Brando punched him and knocked out five of his teeth. Leon Gash's documentary "Smash His Camera" which won an award at Sundance in 2010, got its title from Jackie's order to her bodyguard.

"Viva Italia", one of his earlier books, contains numerous photographs of move star Sophia Loren and husband producer Carlo Ponti. His latest book, titled "Sex in Fashion", features Liz Taylor in sunglasses and a mini-dress on the cover and a cameo of the photographer himself from the 1970s.

Now 84, Ron is an old pro both behind and in front of the camera.  When he realized Valerie was photographing him with Jean, he looked up and mugged for the camera.

Any good photographer takes multiple shots, and any good model gives multiple poses, all just in case.  Just in case you blinked, just in case you were speaking, and your lips were in a funny position, just in case someone accidentally bumped you from behind, just in case you look better from a different angle...  For both of these photos, Ron was very gracious and engaging, as so many of his subjects were over the years.

Photographer Rose Hartman, who has shot many of the same celebrities as Ron, stopped by Staley Wise to look at his photos on exhibit and to chat with him one-on-one.

Needless to say, Valerie couldn't resist the opportunity (after a decent time interval, mind you) to take a chance and photo-bomb their tete-a-tete.  Deep in conversation, neither noticed.  (Whew!)

How shameless can it get? Jean was laughing too hard to take any more shots of the two shutterbugs.  But that's all you need anyway, right?

Remember we said more about Jackie later?  There's a bit of her behind us.  Jackie successfully sued Ron Galella in court and got an injunction against him.  When he blithely ignored it, she sued him again!

So what we want to know is: is Galella's next book going to be called SEXAGENARIANS IN FASHION?


  1. This looks like it was fun, and I had a good laugh over Valerie's superb photo-bombing technique! I remember reading about Jackie Onassis and Ron Galella's conflicts in the tabloids from the 70's (yes, I used to read a couple of them strictly for the movie star photos).

  2. Your hats are perfection, as always. You have inspired me to check out this book, which I hopefully can find at the bookstore three blocks away. And love the photobomb!