My Life in Focus
A Photographer's Journey with Elizabeth Taylor and the Hollywood Jet Set
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
When Gianni Bozzacchi accepted an assignment as a photographer on the set of The Comedians (1967), he didn't know that his life was about to change forever. His ability to capture the beauty of candid moments drew the attention of the film's star, Elizabeth Taylor, and prompted her to hire him as her personal photographer. Not only did he go on to enjoy a jet-set life as her friend and confidant -- preserving unguarded moments between the violet-eyed beauty and Richard Burton as they traveled the world -- but Bozzacchi also became an internationally renowned photographer and shot some of the biggest celebrities of the 1960s and 1970s.
In My Life in Focus, Bozzacchi traces his journey from humble beginnings to the sphere of the rich and famous. As a child, he cultivated his skills by working with his father -- a photographer for the Italian government. Following in his parent's footsteps was not something Bozzacchi had foreseen for his future; but his passion for taking pictures and his ability to put his subjects at ease enabled him to capture stunning images of some of the greatest stars of the twentieth century, including Audrey Hepburn, Steve McQueen, Raquel Welch, Mia Farrow, Clint Eastwood, and the royal family of Monaco.
Beautifully illustrated with many of the photographer's most iconic images, this lively memoir reveals private moments in the Taylor-Burton love story and provides an invaluable behind-the-scenes look at the business of filmmaking and the perils of celebrity.
"This autobiography helps the reader to understand the international film scene of the 1960s and 1970s from the point of view of a very lucky witness, a young photographer traveling between Europe and America." -- Lorenzo Codelli, Italian film archivist and author of World Film Locations: Singapore
" My Life in Focus offers a unique look at the business of filmmaking and the perils of celebrity during the 1960s and 1970s. Bozzacchi tells his tale in a voice that gives life to his recollection and places these events in a thoughtful context that makes them more than mere anecdotes about the rich and famous." -- Douglass K. Daniel, writer and editor with the Associated Press and author of Tough as Nails: The Life and Films of Richard Brooks
"I was captivated by the story of Gianni's unlikely journey to the bosom of the 60s and 70s Jet Set, a story he tells with warmth and self-deprecating humor. His ascension to the pinnacle of his profession as photographer seems at times like a magic carpet ride, but Gianni never loses sight of his integrity -- as a person and as an artist -- through the wild and unexpected turns.
This book is full of fascinating revelations, even for someone like myself who has been a close friend of Gianni's for nearly 50 years." -- Christopher Wilding, Elizabeth Taylor's son
"I was pleased to have Gianni on the set of my film The Last Days of Mussolini. He made some wonderful images. Reading his book gives you the pleasure of knowing Gianni and sharing the words expressed by Pablo Picasso on his work: "His photographs are full of human warmth and his black and white is full of color." -- Carlo Lizzani, Italian film director, screenwriter, and critic
"An extraordinary book about a young boy in neorealismo post--World War II Rome who, through the lens of a camera, grows up to photograph the great stars of cinema and royalty, and lives La Dolce Vita." -- Jay Kanter, former chairman of production and Chief Operating Officer of MGM-Pathe/MGM Communications
" My Life in Focus is an endearing account from a man with a healthy attitude toward stardom, well aware, first hand, of the prison of fame. As a photographer, he allowed the light to capture the moment and balanced craft with art." -- Shepherd Express
"Bozzacchi also includes interesting adventures and observations about Princess Grace, Bardot, Virna Lisi, Chanel, Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch. (Gianni found Welch to be charming, quite unlike her disagreeable image at the time, but he still has no idea how she ended up naked and unconscious in Richard's bed during the filming of "Bluebeard" -- with the inebriated Burton in an agony of regret.)" -- Liz Smith, New York Social Diary