Paparazzi photography

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by cliveh, May 29, 2014.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Many years ago I met a guy who specialised in paparazzi photography and he showed me his suitcase of cameras that consisted of a couple of Leica’s and several most extreme telephoto lenses. Such a job must be a strange life of waiting days/weeks for a shot that may net you mega bucks and research and intelligence about where to go occupies part of their time. I couldn’t do this sort of photography and have little respect for it, but I suppose some may find it a lucrative way to earn a living. What do others think about this sort of photography?
     
  2. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    I think it's as valid as any other kind of photography. I respect and admire the amount of effort it takes to be successful in that genre — not only does one have to be "on time" to the second, one has to be equally adept in research and knowing things before others find out.

    I don't think there can be many who find it a lucrative way of profit — there are only so many sites and magazines who need such photos, and many of these photos lose value over time (exception being photos which capture someone doing something that genuinely won't be forgotten for many years to come).
     
  3. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Seems to me a hard way to make a living.

    Jeff
     
  4. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Actually I would do it to make a living but not as a hobby. It's pure work and the result although commands money I don't like them.
     
  5. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    media

    If you look at any media you will find an avalanche of photos and articles about celebs. The country has gone nuts over them. Take a look at the New York Daily News website and try to find a story/photos that is not celeb- or sleez- oriented. And of course the photographer is the bad guy here, not the How Much Skin Can I Show Aktress or the people who buy the crappy tabloids at the grocery store or the people who gawk on the Internet.
    In the Olde Daze if a celeb photo sold for the price of a new car the photog thought he broke the bank at Monte Carlo. Now you can get a couple of a million bucks for the right shot. What kind of people do you think join that parade? And is it their fault? I do not know that every photog except those "pesky insects" go to church every Sunday and always obey the Golden Rule and do not pass wind at the Bishop's tea party. But there is an old saying -- don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes. That way, you'll be a mile away and you'll have his shoes.
     
  6. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    I would think the toll on my morality would be too high. It's different to be called into s scrum as opposed to invade peoples privacy, just because they are a celebrity. I don't understand why those celebrates don't 'go off' more often.
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    That is true, but the capital outlay must be sometimes extreme, to fly to exotic locations, hire yachts or planes/helicopters and then still no guarantee you will get the money shot.
     
  8. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    Well, I couldn't do it. I don't like upsetting people with my camera. Photography, like anything else should be used to create positive things.

    But it's wrong to blame only the paparazzi. Their business is driven by the public's insatiable need for sensational gossip. I personally don't care what celebrities get up to in their spare time.
     
  9. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

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    An interesting sub-genre that is generally full of controversy, but a very valid sub-genre. Often "genuine" news photography would drift into areas of pap work e.g. being able to zoom in on private papers being carried to cabinet meetings or press conferences for instance, or "door stepping trials and enquiries for mug shots of accused/witnesses etc through to shots into moving prison vans or cars. Small step from those skills to papping a celeb in a merc or stepping out of a restaurant, and often easier - the vast majority of celeb pics are co-ordinated by P.R. companies or representatives of the celebs themselves. There are plenty of A-list celebs who live a life outside of the incessant media bubble and one doesn't get to see what dress they are wearing today - mostly, there is a reason for that. It is a game where both sides know the rules but sometimes forget them and will get more prevalent with the on-line content to fill.

    The high-end stuff will generally be as a result of a tip-off from a well cultivated source, often that will have involved some degree of investment along the way, mostly do not result in anything but occasionally gold will be struck with a genuine exclusive.

    It can be incredibly boring and tedious with small frenetic bursts of action but the camaraderie of the regular photogs used to be something to experience - right down to sharing negs if someone missed the shot! Not for everybody and like most jobs, it has its grey areas but if there was no market for the images...
     
  10. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    The current mayor of my town, Darren Lyons, was a UK-based pararazzi (Big Pictures) and made around $30 million a year before selling out a few years back and returning home (where he was once a humble newspaper photographer). He is a very flamboyant and showy character (frills, rhinestones, mohawk hair tied and dyed...). All paparazzi have a skid mark against their name: it didn't go down well that he was the one who personally went up to photograph Princess Diana at the accident scene, print the images out, flog them off to the tabloids and refuse to destroy the negatives because they were a valuable income stream. Something to think about re morality.
     
  11. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Member

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    Usher Fellig, an early paparazzi, is today celebrated as a groundbreaking artist, credited as a primary influence by Diane Arbus. No millions for him. He worked the night shift and lived in a tiny, decrepit apartment next door to Frank Lava's gun shop in NYC.

    Ken
     
  12. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I always thought of him as the Australian version of Max Clifford, but without the court case implications.
     
  13. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Some of the pictures Weegee took had dubious moral implications, such as:-

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=w...gh-the-lens-final-exam-flash-cards%2F;240;204

    I believe he placed the steering wheel in the dead man's hand to associate the death with a car accident. No press photographer today could get away with that.
     
  14. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Taking photograph of someone in a situation where the subject does not want to be seen, and doing so knowing it will cause that person great grief, harm, or embarasement is not my idea of great job, great work, or moral behavior.

    I have no idea why many seem to be fascinated with an image of royal's butt....
     
  15. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

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    Hindsight can be a wonderful thing, most of the paps on the scene of the crash would have taken pictures - not knowing the outcome - that was their "job". Those that got the films away all offered them for sale but once the death was public the nature of the story altered and the editors did their job, they edited the pictures and did not publish. They may well appear but most likely in a historic context, like time-limited u.k. government cabinet papers. Just because the edn outcome was tragic does not mean that the image required to be edited at point of capture.

    The sports photographers who shot the heysel football stadium stampede, hillsborough football stadium crush, jock stein fatal heart attack on the pitch or sennas f1 crash are not vilified for doing their job and taking pictures of an event that later transpires to be differently tragic, in all those cases the editors did their job and edited from publication the gruesome pictures that exist - and still exist in the archives.

    I have never seen a published picture with diana injured inside the car.
     
  16. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Member

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    He reportedly also often dropped his own fedora into a scene because, according to him, the viewing public liked to see the stiff's hat.

    He was more a NYC tabloid (paparazzi) photographer than a mainstream press photographer. No morals involved. Only the desire (and skill set) to walk away with the money shot by doing whatever was necessary. Not so different from contemporary paparazzi.

    Yet today he's considered an artist.

    Ken
     
  17. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Another trick in the old B&W days was to dump a bucket of water on the scene -- in greyscale it'd look like blood.

    I could never do what the pros do, with the celeb type of work - takes a certain personality type. I won't judge them but it's against my view of what photography is...the final word is this: they wouldn't do it if the demand (ie. US) didn't want it so badly.
    And don't kid yourself about the celebrities either -- they play that system like a fiddle.
     
  18. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    Personally I could care less what the celebs are up to, I don't keep up with who's doing this or that, who's dating who and all that B.S., I could care less. But when it comes to celebs complaining about, or flipping out on the paparrazi I feel like it's all staged, the only reason you become that famous is because you want the attention, and by throwing a fit about it you get even more attention. I believe in freedom and I believe you should damn well be able to take a picture of whoever you want in public.
     
  19. AgX

    AgX Member

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    One of those paparazzi photographers (a german guy working in the US) wrote a book about his experiences. So you can learn from firsthand.
     
  20. hdeyong

    hdeyong Subscriber

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    I don't have too much respect for any of them, but I can at least credit some skill and timing to the early ones who shot film and could get two or three pictures, maybe only one.
    The modern ones just stand there and let the camera focus and set the exposure and then hit the button taking eight pictures per second through a multi-thousand dollar fast, long zoom. Then a little of the old post processing.
    Wow, I'm impressed, that takes skill.