Historical moments go on show and how some notable names rang in the next year
When New Year’s Eve rolls around, it’s just as important to be with someone dear when the clock strikes midnight as it is to be in the proper place.These black and white pictures from yesteryear show society’s elite – from stars of the silver screen to painters and everything in between – surrounded by loved ones and plenty of champagne. From Albert Einstein to Betty Hutton to Jane Wyman, these pictures show how some notable names rang in the next year.
Roaring 30s: Mae Clarke, a screen and stage star, and her escort, Dr. B. Blank, are seen at their table in the Agua Caliente Hotel in Mexico, during the party on New Year's Eve, attended by scores of the film colony in 1934
Big to do: Joan Bennett, screen star, and Raoul Walsh, director make whoopee at their table in the Agua Caliente Hotel in 1933
Family matters: Joan Caulfield came all the way from the Hollywood to spend the end of 1946 with her parents at Sherman Billingsley's Stork Club, welcoming in 1947
Big to do: Betty Hutton, left, of 'Annie Get Your Gun' fame, sees in the New Year with her husband, Ted Briskin, of the Revere Camera Company, at a New York night club in the 1940s; right, radio actress Mercedes McCambridge is ready to welcome 1950 in high style
Dressed to the nines: Top hat and cane complete the fancy formal outfit for actress Jayne Mansfield, left, and right, Ellen and Alice Kessler, twin dancing stars of Paris' famed Lido Nightclub, help launch 'Champagne Week 1954' in anticipation of New Year's Eve celebrations
Clowning around: Actress Jane Wyman, dressed in a clown suit, is surrounded by confetti during a New Year celebration
Theory of relativity: Left, Albert Einstein and his wife Elsa in 1930, and right, artist Salvador Dali and other patrons celebrating New Year's Eve at New York's El Morocco nightclub in 1950
Make some noise: Silent film actress and producer Hope Hampton, right, and friends enjoying a New Year's Eve celebration at New York City's El Morocco nightclub in 1949
Royal time: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, right, dance the New Year in at the Sherry Netherlands in 1949
Good spirit: Comedian Bob Hope and other entertainers board a Constellation at La Guardia Airport in 1954 for the Thule Air Force Base, Greenland, to provide the New Year's Eve entertainment for the men at the base
Help from friends: Accompanying Bob Hope are Anita Eckberg, center, Robert Strauss right; in the 2nd row, Margaret Whiting, left, and Brenda Marshall, right
They're the bane of A-listers everywhere thanks to their long lenses and gift for catching a celebrity during moments they would rather the public didn't see but the origin of the paparazzi are more glamorous than the modern incarnation would suggest.
Now a new exhibition is to turn the lens on some of the first paparazzo, who documented the golden age of Italian cinema, provoking outrage from their A-list subjects and adoration from the public who devoured their work.
But it's not all Bieber-style paparazzi dust-ups: The 80 photos set to go on display at the Estorick Collection from 30th April also offer a glimpse of the dolce vita or 'sweet life' enjoyed by Italian movie stars and Hollywood royalty working in Rome during the 1950s and '60s.
Public holiday: Brigitte Bardot surrounded by paparazzi during a holiday in Spoleto, June 1961
The two decades were a golden era in Italian film when directors such as Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini produced some of their most famous films, including the latter’s iconic La Dolce Vita (1960). So successful was the Italian film making industry, Hollywood stars such as John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Lauren Bacall and Liz Taylor flocked to Rome, along with directors lured by the comparatively inexpensive Cinecittà studios.
In the Roman studios, some of the biggest films of the age, among them Ben-Hur (1959) and Cleopatra (1963) were shot.
In the evenings, however, a different type of camera lens took over, with photojournalists with an eye on the bottom line unable to resist the lure of the A-lister packed bars and restaurants that lined the city’s exclusive Via Veneto.
Private moment: Richard Burton and Liz Taylor kissing in Ischia, June 1962 and photographed by Geppetti
Arrival: A Geppetti shot of Carlo Ponti, Sophia Loren and Vittorio De Sica, arriving at a Rome restaurant in 1961
One of the most skillful was Marcello Geppetti, whose photos vividly evoke an era of extraordinary glamour, creativity and decadence.
Geppetti, who died in 1998, eventually amassed an archive of more than a million images, many featuring period heavyweights such as Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn.
And Geppetti was unique in another way too, making the decision early in his career to sell his work to press agencies rather than direct to papers in much the same way that paparazzi do today.
Initially, he was employed by the Meldolesi-Canestrelli-Bozzer agency, then one of the most high-profile of its kind, where he earned a a reputation both for the technical quality of his images and his talent for capturing dramatic, eye-catching moments, before going freelance.
Ironically, Geppetti made his name with harrowing images of a fire at the Hotel Ambasciatori on Via Veneto: the very street that would later provide him with arresting imagery of a quite different nature, as he travelled along it on his scooter on the lookout for celebrities.
Portrait of a film star: Audrey Hepburn (left) and Raquel Welch and Marcello Mastroianni on set (right)
Intimate: Jane Mansfield and Mike Hargitay papped enjoying their supper in Rome, September 1960
Ready to work: Rock Hudson and Cary Grant at photographed outside the Cinecittà Studios, June 1961
Suppertime: Richard Burton dining with friends at a restaurant in Trastevere, Rome, June 1963
Many capture moments when, as he put it, 'the ordinary coexisted with the extraordinary’, as in his image of Liz Taylor wandering with a friend through the streets of Cinecittà dressed as Cleopatra, or the actor Mickey Hargitay riding down the Via Veneto on horseback.
One of his most famous shots is that of Richard Burton kissing Liz Taylor while holidaying in Ischia, a photograph recently listed among the 30 most famous images in history, alongside works by Andy Warhol and Cecil Beaton.
Yet despite the loveliness of his work, the celebrities he photographed considered the behaviour of the paparazzi as intrusive then as they do today.
Glamorous: Swedish actress Anita Ekberg driving a Mercedes through the streets of Rome in May 1962
Romance: Jane Mansfield and Mike Hargitay leaving Piccola Budapest, Rome, October 1962
Attack: Like Bieber, Franco Nero, seen here hitting Rino Barillari at the Trevi Fountain, was no fan of the paps
One photograph captures the actor Franco Nero in the act of assaulting Geppetti’s fellow paparazzo, Rino Barillari, at the Trevi Fountain, while another series of images show Anita Ekberg in her stockinged feet confronting another paparazzo with a bow and arrow before attacking him with her fists.
While the A-listers they followed loathed them, Geppetti and his ilk produced some of the most iconic images of the 1950s; cementing Hollywood's place in popular culture in the process.
Love them or loathe them, there's no denying that the paparazzo - and the public who adored them - changed the face of photojournalism forever.
The Years of La Dolce Vita begins on the 30th April and runs until the 29th June at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art. For more information, see estorickcollection.com
Glamorous company: Jack Lemmon, Joan Collins and Robert Wagner at Caffè dell’Epoca, Rome, October 1961
On set: Assistant cameraman Ennio Guarnieri, Nico Otzak and Federico Fellini on the set of La Dolce Vita, 1960
Star: Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni puffs on a cigarette during filming on the set of La Dolce Vita, 1960