"I think I helped create the style icon of Jackie," Galella told StyleList. "She was my favorite subject because she did not pose--she was always active, and I liked taking active pictures." (Translation: she was always running away from him.)
"It didn't matter what she wore, but the best take I ever got was at [legendary Manhattan society restaurant] La Cote Basque, she wore a Valentino bright red dress, and that made the cover Life magazine," he said, adding wistfully: "but I never got her without a bra."
But surely she hated being followed?
"She was an actress!" insists Galella. "She pretended she didn't like pictures sometimes, but she loved them. And this documentary shows her smiling into my camera many times. I think she loved it."
History shows she "loved it" by taking him to court and getting a restraining order.
"She's a hypocrite! She said in court that she did not collect pictures, but the maid said she had a closet full of my pictures," said Galella, as incensed as if the slight had happened yesterday. "After the trial I gave her my book 'Jacqueline,' through her doorman, [as a way of] thanking her, and it's on her bookshelf! Before she died--I have a witness."
It was not lost on the well-heeled premiere guests that the party was being thrown by veteran film publicist and society fixer Peggy Siegal, who has spent the past 30 years keeping the photographer out of her events. But among the usual toffs were a few other retired paparazzi, who had known Galella back in the day and were gamely shooting their cameras, clearly enjoying being back in the fray.
"Wow, there are a lot of people here," I overheard one senior snapper say to an old chum, whom she clearly hadn't seen in many years. "Did anybody come?"
Meanwhile see who else was also showing off some unexpected curves last night at MoMA.