Tag Archives: Marlon Brando

Steve Schapiro, Then and Now: Rare Images from a Photography Legend

Just the list of people Steve Schapiro has photographed during his career reads like a Who’s Who of the most influential politicians, celebrities and newsmakers in American history over the last five decades. But that Schapiro captured his subjects during their pivotal and seminal moments—Robert F. Kennedy during his 1968 presidential campaign; Marlon Brando on the set of The Godfather; Andy Warhol and muse Edie Sedgwick in The Factory, among others—lends his photographs an added significance. They aren’t just remarkable portraits of remarkable people, but snapshots into our country’s historical and cultural milestones.

Schapiro’s output over his more than 50-year career has been prolific, and many people have probably seen one of his photographs whether they realize it or not. But his new book, Then and Now, gives readers a look at Schapiro’s lesser-known work; the majority of pictures have never been published. “There were so many pictures that I loved but didn’t fit with the format of my previous books, so this was a chance to bring forth that work,” he says. The book is comprised of single images shown over a spread, as well as spreads of disparate images that share a composition or theme—one such example has a portrait of Martin Scorcese holding a gun and grapes on the left page, and a portrat of Mia Farrow holding a baby on the right. “I wanted to make a book that was interesting on every page,” says Schapiro. “That evolved into the idea of working with double pages where one picture worked with another.”

Schapiro first took an interest to photography at 9 while at summer camp. He fell in love with “the magic of photography” in the dark room, where he became fascinated by how pictures came to life after being dipped in various formulas. But it wasn’t until he discovered Henri Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment, as a teenager, that his interest really took hold. He began trying to capture his own decisive moments on the streets of New York City, before going to study the formal aspects of photography under W. Eugene Smith.

In 1961, amid the height of the Civil Rights movement, Schapiro started working as a freelance photographer for publications such as LIFE, Rolling Stone, TIME and Newsweek. Over the next 10 years, which Schapiro calls “the golden age of photojournalism,” he would cover the decade’s most significant events, including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1963 march in Selma, and later, King’s abandoned motel room after this assassination, as well as the “Summer of Love” in Haight-Asbury and Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. “It was an incredible time to be a photojournalist because there was more of an emotional flow—an ability to do more emotional pictures that captured the spirit of a person,” says Schapiro of the period. “I was able to spend a lot of time with people—Bobby Kennedy went to South America for four weeks and I got to go with him. When I got really sick there, Ethel Kennedy brought me Bobby’s pajamas to wear. Bobby was someone who I became friends with, but everyone who worked with him loved him.”

Despite his success as a photographer, Schapiro maintains that he hasn’t taken his most important picture yet—and doesn’t have any idea what it might be. In the meantime, there’s one subject who continues to elude him: “President Barack Obama. I would love to photograph him.”


View more of Schapiro’s work here.



Ron Galella: America’s Most Famous Paparazzi Photographer

Ron Galella, America’s most famous paparazzi photographer, likes to say he owes his career to the U.S. Air Force. After studying art in high school, Galella was working with ceramics after graduation when the Korean War broke out in June 1950. Rather than being drafted for combat, he decided to enlist for an arts-related position in the Air Force. Though he’d never studied it before, Galella discovered photography to be the closest discipline to fine art. After the war, he pursued the medium academically, studying photojournalism at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, which introduced him to the world of Hollywood.

“That’s when I got hooked on celebrities,” says Galella, who would reinvent celebrity paparazzi culture over the next few decades through his relentless style and candid portraits. “Being in Hollywood, I figured I’d see what these stars look like.” The young lensman crashed premieres, introduced himself to celebrities and even took an acting class to overcome his shyness about rubbing elbows with Hollywood’s A-List.

Though he’d photograph countless stars throughout his career, including Madonna, Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando, Galella’s favorite subject would become First Lady Jackie Kennedy. “She was my muse, my golden girl,” Galella says. “She was my ideal subject for many reasons—she did not pose, she was active, and for the most part, she would ignore my camera.” Even later restraining orders issued against Galella would not deter his obsession with the notoriously private Kennedy.

Galella has largely stepped out of the spotlight over the last 20 years, since he and his wife moved to New Jersey in 1992. But he continues to cover prominent culture events from the annual Tony Awards to this year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala (for the record, he thought singer Beyoncé was best-dressed). “The paparazzi culture has changed drastically,” he says. “When I did it, you had the great freedom to shoot—no fans, no security, no publicists. And I don’t miss it too much because I have the gold in my files.”

Ron Galella is an American photographer. More of his work can be seen here. A new book of his work, Ron Galella: Paparazzo Extraordinaire!, is available from Hatje Cantz publishers.