Fotografo D’assalto

By

Modern day Paparazzi have both Federico Fellini and recently deceased photojournalist Felice Quinto to thank for their name.

Photojournalist Felice Quinto, who passed away recently in mid-January, inspired the creation of the character named “Paparazzo” in the Federico Fellini film La Dolce Vita. Quinto and his friends caught the eye of Fellini while zooming around on motorcycles to catch celebrity candids. Fellini is said to have offered the role of Paparazzo to Quinto, a role later played by Walter Santesso, but Quito rejected the offer.

Quinto immigrated to the United States, where his photographs of celebrities at the Studio 54 club assisted in cementing its notorious reputation. Co-founder of Studio 54 Ian Schrager has said that it was Quinto that transformed the club into a “media phenomenon, with these pictures that would make it around the world.” In response to questions regarding his moral stance on the invasion of the privacy of celebrities, Quinto had no qualms. He believed that such characters relied just as much on him for publicity, as he did on them to earn his livelihood.

Quinto became involved in the life of a fotografo d’assalto (assault photographer) through his father’s camera shop, where he enjoyed experimenting with the cameras. Quinto never attended a formal school of journalism or photographic education, emphasizing his belief that a love of the craft was all that was required. You can read more about Quinto via the Times Online article here, and via the Financial Times here.


Nina Moog is a writer and director of photography based in Germany. She holds an MA from the University of St. Andrews and an MSc from the University of Oxford, where her thesis focused on photographic representations of prisons. More from this author →