An article in the paper this week linked a number of Hollywood Paparazzi with a series of burglaries of high profile paparazzi subjects houses! It seems that some high profile “photographers” might have shared details of their subject’s security systems and layouts in return for a cut of the profits!
This brings me to today’s subject. A photographer used to be a part of the image making machinery of the music business. On October 21st on the NPR Blog Picture Show http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/, the headline read: How Photographers Created Rock And Roll., by Claire O’Neill.
The article was about a book and photo exhibit called Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History 1955-Present by written by photographic historian Gail Buckland.
This quote by Ian Tilton is included in the article:
When I was taking live pictures at big gigs in the ’80s and early ’90s, we were able to photograph the whole set. Then in the mid-90s, someone said, “You can do the first 3 songs only.” … Now the first 3 songs are useless — the band hasn’t gotten into their stride; they aren’t even sweating! And that’s what great live rock ‘n’ roll photography is all about: atmosphere and sweat and the band getting “lost in music.” That’s never gonna be at the beginning of a set. It’s always near the end! Do you think I would have gotten those classic photos of Kurt Cobain smashing his guitar in the first 3 numbers?
So, how did this happen? I say that al lot of the problems started with the elevation of the paparazzi as a legitimate photographer. It used to be that the word photographer was a positive word. It meant a person who legitimately was given access to a celebrity or event to document it for the press and for history. That was before people started jumping out of bushes and swearing at Sean Penn, causing him to get mad and attacked them, allowing the pack of “Photographers” to get great pictures. Last year, BBC America ran a series called “Paparazzi” which documented a photo agency in London. One of the star “photographers” of the agency was a taxi driver, who was hired because he knew all the back streets of London and could drive like a maniac and get in front of celebrities driving through town to get the photo. The fact that he didn’t know how to use a camera never entered the conversation- he could be taught that part of it easily!
Because of these people, the word photographer quickly became a dirty word in the entertainment business. Are the guys that stop Britney Spears car at a stop light and shoot pictures of her with a flash cowering behind the steering wheel really photographers?
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed in to law tougher restrictions on paparazzis. More about that next week.