With the exhibition Pigozzi and the Paparazzi in the Helmut Newton Foundation Paparazzi photography is the subject of an extensive show for the first time in Germany. The show concentrated on snapshots and portraits of famous people from the 1960’s and 1970’s, the “classic“ era of the paparazzi, and offers us a glimpse of how the mythic aura of the stars was dismantled by showing them going about their daily lives.

We encounter Alain Delon and Prince Charles, Mick Jagger and Woody Allen, Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot and Marlene Dietrich at parties, on the street, at the beach and so on. In hardly any of these photographs was there ever time for the subject to strike a pose. They were taken “from a safe distance” with the photographer often going unnoticed. Nevertheless, once in a while a fight would break out between the hunter and the hunted when a photographer got too close or was discovered in his hiding-place. For example, the photographer Ron Galella lost several teeth when he suffered a well-aimed punch from Marlon Brando; thereafter he often wore an American Football helmet any time he expected to come across Brando at a public event.

Presenting approximately 350 B/W and colour prints by Salomon, Weegee, Galella, Quinn, Angeli, Secchiaroli, Pigozzi and Newton, the exhibition displays the forerunners and central figures of Paparrazi Photography – and provides a visual commentary about the evolution of this phenomenon. The exhibition offers an overview and critical look at the history of a photographic genre dedicated to fame and sensationalism.

There will always be paparazzi shots that cross over into celebrity and portrait photography. Jean Pigozzi, the photographer included in the exhibition title, has been able to cultivate the kind of intensive and intimate relationship with the rich and the famous that is so desperately sought after by the paparazzi at large. He too penetrates into their private sphere, yet the celebrities generally acquiesce to the photographic unmasking with a smile.