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August 31, 2014

The Original Paparazzo

Elio Sorci and the Birth of Celebrity Culture

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.

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Tavi Gevinson x Minna Gilligan

The Internet Creatives Go Head to Head On Thrifting and World Domination for It’s Nice That’s Latest Print Venture

Fashion blogger turned publishing sensation Tavi Gevinson is framed by artist Minna Gilligan's psychedelic-inspired illustrations and photos of pop icons in a FaceTime-style exchange between the pair. The film comes as a visual response to the pair’s tête-à-tête for the fifth issue of Printed Pages, a foray into paper publishing from online platform It’s Nice That. Gevinson has become synonymous with the zine-toting digital revolution that juxtaposes feminist views and heartthrob collages across the web. She launched teen-focused online zine Rookie in 2010—itself in the second issue of it’s printed edition—and now reaches over four-million readers per week, boasting a global network of contributors including the 21-year-old Melbourne-based illustrator. The pair give NOWNESS the low down on their web-centric world.

What’s the one internet habit you have no intention of breaking?
Tavi:
Just, like, tweeting things and then being like “ugh, why? Ugh, I hate myself” and deleting them after.”

Minna: I have a lot of internet habits, most of them bad. My most crazy one is obsessively checking eBay auctions even if I’m not bidding on it or anything. I love a bargain, so if it’s like the last five seconds of an auction I don’t want to miss out on something I don’t need.

You’re editing your fantasy issue of Rookie, Who are your fantasy contributors, dead or alive?
T:
That’s so hard, ok—Beyoncé. Emily Dickinson would be great, Frida Kahlo and Zadie Smith. Madonna if we could go back a bit, before shit went down.

If you were a social media platform, what would you be and what’s trending?
M:
It would be kind of a logistical nightmare to become a social-media platform as a human but I’ll bypass that and say that I’d probably be Instagram. I like the cleanness of it and the ability it gives you to curate this totally perfect rose-tinted dream world.

What do you consider to be the greatest internet invention?
T:
@Seinfeld200 is my favourite Twitter account. It’s my favourite internet invention by far.

The Spring 2014 Issue of Printed Pages is available now.

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Spotlight

A New York Flex

The Kings of Brooklyn’s Bone-Popping Street Dance

“This is storytelling as dancing,” explains Michael Beach Nichols, co-director of new feature-length documentary Flex is Kings. “You’re not watching different dancers doing the same moves. Each performer summons his background and displays an autobiography of movement.” The flexing scene originated on the streets of East New York, Brooklyn, its jaw-dropping dance having roots in Jamaican bruk up. Limbs are contorted, popping bones out of sockets and leaving them dangling and slack. In the unseen routine performed for NOWNESS, dancers Bones the Machine and DJ Aaron conjure strange, exoskeletal creatures in their own take on flexing. Filmed over two years, Flex is Kings documents the culture around the street dance in the tradition of breaking, krumping and twerking, including flex’s answer to the competitive Harlem vogue-offs, Battlefest. “New York is always on the forefront because there's no room for mediocrity, you'll get eaten alive,” says co-director Deidre Schoo, who premiered the film at last year's Tribeca Film Festival. “I think the rich history of street dance—from b-boy culture up through flex—means it's a viable outlet for kids to express themselves.”

Flex is Kings is screening at Village East Cinema, NYC through April 17 and at Alamo Drafthouse on April 11.

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