Elio Sorci was a paparazzo before there was a name for it. His cat-and-mouse game through the streets of his native Rome was a far cry from today’s long lenses pointed at luxury yachts, but the us-against-them mentality towards the rich and famous was the same. “A paparazzo, ” he stated, “is a young, carefree, happy man who earns his daily bread by putting other people into difficulty and doesn’t mind the risks.”
The term ‘paparazzo’ entered the global vernacular with the release of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in 1960: Walter Santesso played the celebrity-chasing photographer 'Paparazzo,' and the rest was history. Sorci was there to document it, having been asked to visit Fellini’s set and capture chance moments with, among others, Anita Ekberg, who appears here in an exclusive edit from Roads publishing's forthcoming book Paparazzo: The Elio Sorci Collection, alongside Sorci’s shots of Keith Richards, Tina Turner, Audrey Hepburn and Clint Eastwood.
Sorci was named the highest-paid photographer in the world in 1963. He passed away last year, and did not consider the generations that followed him to be true practitioners of his craft. “[He] found his professional path by chance rather than design,” writes Christies’ Director and International Head of Photography, Philippe Garner in an introductory essay to the book. “Indeed, it might be rightly posited that it was precisely their lack of formal training, their lack of self-consciousness towards the medium, the absence of all those aesthetic and ethical anxieties that can inhibit spontaneity, that cast them so perfectly in the role of ruthless image-hunters.”
Paparazzo: The Elio Sorci Collection is published by Roads, and is available in limited-edition with an archival quality digital print.