Celebrities vs. Paparazzi

Alec Baldwin made headlines by getting into an altercation with a photographer who was trying to snap a picture of him. Whether you believe Baldwin who claims he was just defending himself from an aggressive shutterbug invading his privacy or whether you believe the photographer who claims he was just doing his job getting candid pictures of celebrities for his employer, New York's Daily News newspaper, it's another example of the war between the famous and the chroniclers of the famous.

Ever since Hollywood created the superstar there has been a gossip industry trying to feed fans' hunger to know about those celebrities' private lives, the goings-on behind the scenes of the rich and famous. Photographers and gossip columnists have tried to show the "real" faces behind the fictional screen personae. They have tried to dig up scandals, many times when no scandals existed.

While paparazzi have often crossed the line (look no further than the death of Princess Diana after a high speed chase trying to avoid the cameras of allegedly predatory journalists), celebrities have used publicity agents to alert news organizations about where they would socialize in order to have the photographers waiting there to take their picture and plaster it in mainstream media for all the world to see, in the hope of boosting their star power even further.

Just as some stars bait photographers by doing outrageous things to attract coverage and pump up their buzz factor,  some unscrupulous paparazzi have baited celebrities in the scam of pushing their buttons to anger them and then sue for an alleged assault that might occur.

Michael Jackson and Britney Spears recorded anti-paparazzi songs, but their behavior sparked more and more media interest and that media interest enabled the growth of their careers. Where does the Alec Baldwin incident rank? He later walked out covered in a hotel sheet. Later still, he then apparently ran over the foot of another photographer with his bike.

We are in a TMZ era of 24-hour celebrity news coverage. Actors and actresses are tweeting about everything they do. Where do famous people draw the line and what guidelines should professional photographers follow in order not to cross it?

Comments

Holly said…
not sure if you've seen this trailer for $ellebrity yet so I thought I'd share! Should be an interesting look into the lives of celeb culture & the paparazzi

http://gawker.com/5920189/heres-the-first-trailer-for-the-sxsw+selected-paparazzi-doc-ellebrity