Italian photographer Tazio Secchiaroli was one of the original paparazzi. In 1955, he founded Roma Press Photo. As a young news photographer, he snapped his first images in 1941, mostly unremarkable, but one shows a possible early instance of his sense of timing – an image of a friend biking with a soccer ball on his head frozen in time. Secchiaroli was the Paparazzo character in Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita. Fellini learned a great deal about tabloid journalism by buying dinner for Secchiaroli and his friends and listening to their exploits. During the war, Secchiaroli captured photographs of American soldiers arriving in Italian ports while capturing buildings that comprised a solid urban landscape as they landed.
Ironically, Secchiaroli had become more of an insider in the Italian film industry when the term ‘paparazzi’ was coined and left behind paparazzi-style attack photography. Paparazzi’s public perception deteriorated over time, reaching a low last August when Diana, Princess of Wales, and her friend Emad Mohamed al-Fayed died in a car accident while being pursued by paparazzi. Photographing film stars in the studio and at their homes, Secchiaroli became known for his informal, candid portraits.
Below are some of the silver screen stars he portrayed at the height of his career in the 1960s and 1970s.