Photography comes in many forms. Perhaps the one area i doubt i’ll ever get involved in is the Paparazzi. I guess i can see how it all came about when celebrities were true stars. The big movie stars were glamorous. People wanted to know about them, and see them. The Paparazzi became a part of the whole celebrity circus. Get the photos in the newspapers and magazines and not only make money, but perhaps a name for yourself. It also helped promote the stars of the day.
Today i think it’s a bit different. Celebrities are are hounded in their private lives. Photographers follow to get a poor quality snap of someone through a shop window. The bigger the name, the more photographers crowd them. It turns into a crazy life of chasing, or being chased, with celebrities not being allowed any privacy, and everything in their lives being put to public scrutiny.
This desire to get into the lives of the famous has also created celebrities from nothing, or made celebrities from the offspring of the rich and famous.
One example is Paris Hilton. From a young age she had the money most people can only dream of. With no idea of the real world, and stacks of cash to play with, many people would probably have done as she has, and party like crazy. There’s no real reason why this rich kid should have been followed by the Paparazzi, but follow her they did. Catching her in skimpy outfits falling out of clubs in the early hours seemed to be one of the top things for the Paps. Snapping her gettin in and out of cars an hopefully flashing her underwear, or better still catching her without underwear, would seem to be a highlight for some photographers. The Paris snatch shot! Wow, how clever! We’ve got used to the Paris pose with one hand on hip and the back arched, and with a pouting smile that’s supposed to look sexy. And of course, she did herself no harm by making a private sex tape the somehow managed to get into the public realm.
Although it’s reported that her family have disinherited her for all this outrageous behaviour, she now has her own fortune. All the exposure in the media has given her TV shows, a recording deal etc. It would be hard to describe anything she’s done as demonstrating she has any talent whatsoever. Much of the public have nothing at all good to say about her, yet many still buy the magazines that print the photos and stories. They’re shocked and outraged by the antics of this young woman, and complain she gets paid large sums of money for being a talentless spoiled brat!
But surely this desire to know everything about a person in the public eye is the real problem. We now live in a society that craves celebrity status. People will humiliate themselves in front of millions on TV just to get the fame. They have no talent, and often don’t even seem like very nice people, yet suddenly they’re in the magazines, and the Paparazzi are following them around. Suddenly people want to meet that “nobody”. They make large sums of money for doing nothing much. Those who criticize Paris Hilton now make another talentless nobody their hero. WHY? Just because they’re in a celebrity magazine doesn’t make them worthy of such worship.
Paris Hilton of course knows how to play the game. She gets to have a wild time when young, and make a fortune doing it. Perhaps she’s a lot smarter than people credit her. She must employ a good agent, and gets contracts to do things she’s really no good at. I’m sure a lot of people would do the same if the could get away with it, so i’m not going to criticize her for playing the celebrity game when it’s the public that create a world where it can happen.
Another side of this is where a young star loses the plot. Britney Spears was a teenage star. She made millions very quickly. She was the “good” girl of music. Of course she then made mistakes along the way, but i don’t think she was ready to live in that fish bowl that is celebrity where everyone thinks they have a right to know every tiny detail of your life. There seems to have been no protection. Stories get twisted, and lies get told. I read story where she tried to get in the wrong car with her child in her arms. There are photographs of her looking stupid as she realised the mistake. But in a documentary we were shown a different side to the story. The Paparazzi were chasing her, they blocked her way. She just wanted to get away from their harassment, to get her child away from them. She looked distressed, panicky, and tearful. The vehicle she went to was identical to her own. When she couldn’t get in she panicked even more. Seeing the full picture of events that day disgusted me. It made me feel ashamed to pick up a camera in case i looked like those morons who endangered her child’s safety.
Imagine what it must be like to have this type of thing happen pretty much every day of your life, simply for being a singer. Is it really so surprising that Britney had a breakdown? I have a lot of sympathy for her.
Of course there are celebrities who move away from the limelight, and fair play to them. No matter who you are, what you do, or how famous you are, you have a right to privacy. As the public we should stop hankering after this crazy idea we have a right to their lives. The photographers who make up the Paparazzi also need to understand this right to privacy. If we showed a better attitude, then we wouldn’t know who the likes of Paris Hilton was. She’d just be some rich kid out getting drunk.
The public are the ones who demand the intrusion of celebrities lives. The public provide the Paparazzi with self worth. The public make the nobody’s famous. Perhaps it’s we, the public, that are the fools!
This blog was inspired by my friend over at Reservoir Dogs http://gabrielabadica.wordpress.com/