Paparazzo (2014)

The post-Fascist Italy of the early 1950s saw an explosion in international film production, and as stars flocked to Rome – followed by models, playboys, and monarchs – the city was transformed. A small band of press photographers were the very first to document this ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’ phenomenon, and in doing so they revolutionised their art form forever. Their methods were new, rapid and inventive; they worked hard and fast to be the first on the picture desks and from there, the front pages of the world’s papers. These men would later be dubbed the ‘paparazzi’, and they changed the face of photojournalism. Among their number was Elio Sorci.

Sorci was a strategic mastermind, with an independent spirit and unparalleled appetite for adventure that made him a leader in his field. His was the image that finally confirmed the Elizabeth Taylor–Richard Burton affair. His photograph of fellow paparazzo Tazio Secchiaroli being chased by the antagonised Walter Chiari set a radical precedent for modern paparazzi photography.

His stripped-back images depict this world just as it was, often tinged with vulgarity and essentially superficial, but thrilling, compelling, and seductive. Paparazzo is the first definitive collection of his award-winning work across four decades. Printed in duotone, each frame captures the vitality and excitement of ‘la Dolce Vita’, while revealing something of the charm, vivacity, intuition, and tenacity of the man himself.

A collectors’ edition was also produced, housed in a custom-made box and accompanied by a choice of a limited edition set of Sorci prints. The print comes a monogram-stamped wax-sealed gold envelope, depicting Elizabeth Taylor – visible through the die-cut lettering on the box façade.