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We’ve had some interesting discussions on this blog about the paparazzi, and in general I’ve been standing up for the photographers, who I see as perfoming some kind of professional act. But according to this article in the New York Times, those swarming crowds of paparazzi you see in photos like this one are all pros. Many are “civilians” (tourists, cooks, soccer moms) who roam the streets with digital SLRs and camcorders, eager to snap a celeb for some spare cash. In fact, as the article points out, the term paparazzi may not even have a true meaning anymore.
And I would agree, even on a stylistic level. The celebrity “street” imagery we see today is shamefully unimaginative and boring, compared with the work of Ron Galalla, Marcello Gepetti, and Tazio Secchiaroli. Those guys worked for their money, and produced memorable pictures that have stood the test of time. (Case in point: Galella’s 1971 image of Jackie Onassis, made from a taxi cab window in New York. She had a court order keeping Galella 25 feet from her, but that didn’t stop him from making the most beautiful picture of her ever.) Today’s mom-and-pop paparazzi don’t deserve the title.
–David Schonauer