Jackie: My Obsession

Ron Galella, Photographer
Ron Galella. Ron Galella, $400 hardcover (400p) ISBN 978-0-9857519-0-6
Reviewed on: 01/27/2014
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Dubbed “Paparazzo Extraordinaire” by Newsweek, Galella (Jacqueline, No Pictures) offers up this compendium of his favorite photos of his favorite subject: iconic former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Despite legal battles—Onasis sued Galella twice and the court issued him a restraining order—the photographer is unabashed in describing his constant fascination with Onassis, whom he considered the most glamorous woman in the world. While the quality of the photographs themselves—which are all taken on the street or in social settings—is inconsistent, many are entrancing in their candid depictions of Onassis’s everyday life, as well as her social life. In a photo snapped on her niece’s wedding day in 1980, Onassis, surrounded by family, gazes directly into the camera, flashing a characteristically mysterious smile that is at once inviting and distancing. Another shot, taken in Capri, Italy, in 1970, shows the often tumultuous relationship between subject and photographer: Onassis seems to be gesturing angrily at an outdoor cafe, and is alleged to have said, “Call the police—arrest that man,” in reference to Galella. More than a tale of personal obsession, however, the photographs here are a testament to America’s complicated and voyeuristic relationship with celebrity.
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