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The Wick - Ron Galella, Dolly Parton and a white horse at Studio 54, 1978

Discover Ron Galella

Dolly Parton and a white horse at Studio 54, 1978,
Ron Galella

The photographer Ron Galella is widely recognised as the ‘Godfather of American paparazzi’. He is perhaps best known (and reviled) for his unflinching and unapologetic images of celebrities, from Marlon Brando to Grace Jones — and relentless pursuit of Jackie Kennedy (which ended in multiple lawsuits). He stopped at nothing to get the perfect picture, often shooting a whole role of film to get one frame.

Among his most iconic images of New York’s club scene is this 1978 snapshot of Dolly Parton at her farm-themed afterparty at Studio 54. Organised by Steve Rubell (Studio 54’s co-founder), it featured horses, donkeys, chickens and haystacks. Unfortunately, the Queen of Country was less than amused. ‘Dolly came and was completely freaked out at the number of people there,’ recalls journalist Michael Musto. ‘She was real nervous about this whole deal and went up to the balcony and sat up there for a while.’

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