This photo, by the most infamous early paparazzi photographer, Marcello Geppetti, was shot in Spoleto between takes for Louis Malle's film, La Vie Privée. Geppetti liked to incorporate admiring fans in his photos of stars, utilising the paparazzi aesthetic of low-angle shots. His celebrity subjects were wide-ranging and included celebrated photographs of the Beatles visit to Rome in 1965.
Here Bardot seems larger than life, which can be regarded as a literal reenactment of her symbolic elevated status. To further the photo's voyeurism, Bardot avoids contact with the camera. Her body faces us but her eyes are averted.
The movie follows the life of fictional diva and sex icon 'Jill' who due to the pressures of fame and a troubled personal life meets a tragic end. Often overlapping with biographical details of her own life, the film blurs the lines between reality and fiction. Referring to Bardot's own relationship with the persistent press, the film paints the picture of an ever-growing army of paparazzi willing to cross any line for a shot. La Vie Privée was met with critical success and public debate grew around the issue of right to privacy, an issue that is still at the forefront today. According to Malle, filming was difficult from the start, Bardot and her co-star Marcello Mastroianni didn't get on and there was a great deal of press intrusion and studio interference. Malle was unhappy with the film and frustrated by the experience of making it apart from the last section shot in Spoleto that he felt had a lyrical quality that transcended the material.
Bardot, larger than life in Spoleto
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
24 x 18 cms (9.43 x 7.07 ins)
Stamped on reverse: COPYRIGHT BY MARCELLO GEPPETTI FOTOREPORTER
00139 ROMA-VIA GABRIO CASATI, 38
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