When we think of the word "paparazzi," a TMZ video of a Kardashian or a Jenner dining in Malibu, or a snapshot of Paris Hilton in her hard-partying heyday, most likely comes to mind. Nowadays, capturing celebrities in their "natural habitat" tends to include gym time and coffee runs. It's much less about the old Hollywood glamour à la Breakfast at Tiffany's, and more about trying to capture the starlets we so adore as they partake in the the least-starlet-like of activities.
But, the king — and pioneer, as he's most known — of the paparazzo’s, Ron Galella, was quite different than today's shutterbugs. During the 1970s and '80s, if you were famous, Galella knew you — and you knew him. He spent his days cultivating a friendship with Andy Warhol and "stalking" Jackie O. (who sued him, twice), while his nights were filled with partying at Studio 54, capturing the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, Grace Jones, and Cher in their element. He's taken a punch to the face from The Godfather star, Marlon Brando, which ended in the bloody loss of five teeth; he's been given the finger by Mick Jagger, and spit on by Sean Penn.
Even though he was up-close-and person in the faces of celebrities, his photos don’t feel like your average paparazzi shots. Rather, they read like an intimate diary, providing a rare glimpse into a brief moment of admired people's lives. His unfaltering pursuit of his art was like no other, and his recently published book, “Ron Galella: New York,” (and these 23 images ahead), are a testament to his ability to capture a side of the celebrities we know and love, that we otherwise would not have had the opportunity to see.