Despite its present ubiquity, the term paparazzi didn’t exist until 1960. It derives from the Italian word Paparazzo — the name of the news photographer in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. By the late ‘60s, it had become a common epithet for intrusive, prying photographers — who were in and of themselves a relatively recent phenomenon. Afterall, Rome in the 50s had become a center of international film production and a destination for many of the biggest stars in the world — and, in turn, a hub for bush-lurking, Vespa-riding paparazzi.
This month, a new book chronicles the career of Elio Sorci, the Italian photographer commonly credited as the inventor of modern-day paparazzi photography. Paparazzo, published by Roads, is the first monograph to focus on his work, which included photographic evidence of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s affair. (Sorci hid under a car on the film set of Cleopatra in 1962 to get the shot that would become known as the “kissing picture.”) Spanning three decades, the book features his photographic highlights from “Hollywood on the Tiber,” including iconic images of Sophia Loren, Goldie Hawn, Grace Kelly, and countless others.
Click through the slideshow for a look at some of Sorci’s greatest hits, including Audrey Hepburn grocery shopping, Clint Eastwood on a skateboard, Brigitte Bardot chewing a blade of grass, and much, much more.