Much has been written of Ron Galella.
Widely regarded as the most famous and most controversial celebrity photographer in the world—he’s been dubbed “Paparazzo Extraordinaire” by Newsweek, and “the Godfather of U.S. paparazzi culture” by Time and Vanity Fair—Galella is clearly willing to take great risks to get the perfect shot. As a result, Ron has endured two highly publicized court battles with Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, a broken jaw at the hands of Marlon Brando, and a serious beating by Richard Burton’s bodyguards before being jailed in Cuernavaca, Mexico. But ultimately, it is his passion for the fine art of photography, coupled with a dedicated do-it-yourself approach to his craft—few artists can claim his level of skill in making their own prints—that sees Ron’s body of work exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the world. The Museum of Modern Art New York and San Francisco, the Tate Modern in London, and the Helmut Newton Foundation Museum of Photography in Berlin, among many others, all maintain collections of Galella’s iconic works.
Ron’s passion for photojournalism has also given rise to many highly acclaimed photo-art books, including Disco Years (PowerHouse Books), which was honored as Best Photography Book of 2006 by The New York Times. Recently, Galella made the transition to moving film with Smash His Camera, a documentary of his life and career by Oscar-winning director Leon Gast (When We Were Kings, 1996). Premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, Smash His Camera received the Grand Jury Award for Directing in the U.S. Documentary category. The film was also well-received at the 54th BFI London Film Festival prior to airing on the BBC throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.
Tantamount to his recognition at home and in Northern Europe, the government of Basilicata graciously honored Ron—whose father, Vincenzo, was born in Muro Lucano—by making him an honorary citizen of the Italian region in 2009. Basilicata concurrently opened Ron Galella: Italian Icons, a traveling exhibit of over 70 of Ron’s photos, at Palazzo Lanfranchi’s Carlo Levi Hall in Matera, and in conjunction with the opening, Ron launched Viva l’Italia!—a collection of over 225 images of Italian and Italian-American celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Sophia Loren.
A native New Yorker now residing in Montville, New Jersey, Ron served as a United States Air Force photographer during the Korean conflict before attending the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, where he earned a degree in Photo journalism.