We’ve all seen them — those photos of our favorite stars caught in the perfect moment of celebrity stride, crossing the street or working out shirtless at the beach. Well, it’s likely that these photos were snapped by a paparazzo — without the permission of the celeb.
Most celebrities consider this an invasion of privacy, which is why the institution of star-stalking photography that fuels tabloids could soon be coming to an end.
The term “paparazzi” was coined in the 1960 film “La Dolce Vita” after the character Paparazzo, a news photographer.
Now, the term is used to identify annoying “photojournalists” who, according to the American Journalism Review, are “relentless, star-obsessed media voyeurs.”
The Review said, “The paparazzi consider themselves foot soldiers in a new and growing army of information-gatherers in a media age in which information-gathering has somehow gotten confused with newsgathering. ”
They lack the respect of legitimate journalists and will do anything for the perfect celeb photo.
The problem is the celebrity press has gotten so out of control that some governments have gone as far to enact rules and legislation to combat the extremeness of the paparazzi.
MSNBC reported in 2010 that “the California Assembly overwhelmingly approved a bill … that will impose harsh penalties on paparazzi who drive recklessly to get pictures of celebrities.” The paparazzi have more at stake.
And according to Yahoo! Voices contributor Greg Brian, France and Germany both have set rules in place wherein a paparazzo needs permission from the subject of their pervasive photographs before selling them off for big money.
As if working without permission is really going to stop these money-hungry photographers.
What the Hollywood press needs to understand is that these celebrities, no matter how big or how famous, are people too. Even if their careers call for the constant scrutiny of the public eye, an understanding needs to be made that people (celebs included) have a basic right to privacy.
There should also be less of a demand from publications like People magazine and websites like TMZ for these celebrity candids. How about a focus and need for more journalistic features and interviews, instead of that snapshot of Britney Spears shaving her head off?
As a pop culture devotee who admittedly craves the many candids of celebrites the photographers take, I know sometimes it goes too far.
Princess Diana’s death in a 1997 car crash was widely credited to the paparazzi’s incessant, break-neck chase of the car she was driving in. All for the sake of photographs.
The obsessive press needs to follow the “golden rule.”
Would they want to be chased non-stop by photographers? Would they want a picture of their lowest public moments broadcast on TV and circulated around the Internet and in print?
I didn’t think so.
So paps, think before you take that picture of Lindsay Lohan’s crotch as she exits the passenger side of a car. Is it really worth it?