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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Paparazzi photography

    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?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #2

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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. #3

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    Seems to me a hard way to make a living.

    Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Kubach View Post
    Seems to me a hard way to make a living.

    Jeff
    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. #5
    mrred's Avatar
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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.
    Get it right in the camera, the first time... My flickr
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  6. #6
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapguy View Post
    Now you can get a couple of a million bucks for the right shot. What kind of people do you think join that parade?
    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.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #7
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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.

  8. #8

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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...

  9. #9

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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.

  10. #10
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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
    "When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."

    — Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932

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