I am not now, nor do I ever aim to be, any sort of famous. Yet I still deal with the paparazzi on a fairly frequent basis. Not directly, as in (obviously) I’m not the object of their camera focus, but in the way that it affects everyone in Los Angeles. Take this scenario from this weekend:
SCENE: Community farmer’s market, carnival ride section
A small child, age somewhere around 6 or 7 years, is crying atop the giant inflatable slide (which I can say from experience looks really fun going up, by quite terrifying from the top looking down). Her father* scrambles up the “climbing wall” as fast as he can to get to her, comfort her, and bring her down the slide. No less than four sweaty, overweight men with cameras equipped with giant telephoto lenses elbow each other and try to catch the best shot, not taking into account all the small children they are threatening to squash in the process.
When you break it down like that, the sweaty photographers really come across like creeps. I mean, you have this little girl who just wanted to have some fun on the big slide who gets scared and then has a bunch of random strangers trying to take a picture of her as she is terrified just because daddy has to come down the slide with her. Yes, let’s immortalize a small child’s moment of absolute fear for a few hundred bucks rather than giving her some space. Her daddy chose to be a celebrity, so she doesn’t deserve to have privacy.
Then you have the “photographers” taking pictures of famous people walking into stores from the street. They don’t watch where they are going to get that perfect picture. I used to work for a girl who lived right around the corner from Robertson Blvd., one of the biggest shopping destinations in West Hollywood, aside from Melrose. Countless times there were traffic jams caused by masses of camera-wielding crazies trying to get the best (or worst, you know how those magazine columns go) angle of their subject. I’ve had them walk directly out in front of the car before.
To all those who are members of the paparazzi, you are not doing the “service” you think you are. You are just making it frustrating for these people to go about their daily lives. And for regular people who also have to put up with your crap. And to those who buy the tabloid magazines who pay for these shots, just remember that image wasn’t staged. When you see something in a magazine, especially about someone spending time with their family, just remember that a family moment was more than likely crashed by some random sweaty dude who popped up, took the picture, then ran off to ruin another family’s day.
Unless, that family happens to be known for their reality television show. Then they probably hired that person and it was staged.
*Though he was a very recognizable celebrity (in the fact that I did actually recognize him as a celebrity before the paparazzi jumped out of “hiding”), I’m not going to name names here.