Camo Camera

What the well-dressed paparazzo is wearing this year.

Here you see the latest in photographic fashion. The model is photographer Carl Brooks, a paparazzo working for the Splash News agency. He was shooting the controversial May 2005 private wedding of Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau in Woodinville, Washington. The couple achieved international notoriety after Letourneau served a seven-year prison sentence for child rape, due to her relationship with Fualaau, who was 12 when their sexual affair began back in 1996.

To get close to the stringently guarded event, Brooks donned a ghilley suit, a heavily camouflaged uniform typically worn by elite snipers and military men for maximum concealment, equipped with leaves and branches attached to the asymmetrical pattern of the typical fatigues uniform. The picture here was made by Colby Katz, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based photographer who had gone to the wedding not to take beautifully composed pictures of the newlyweds, or to document the ceremony and the guests, but to "capture the odd, unusual moments outside the wedding." This assignment, Katz adds, was in keeping with her usual photo philosophy: "Capturing the world in ways that people typically don't see it."

Katz drew on her previous experience documenting the elusive worlds of beauty pageantry and rabbit hunting, what she calls "American subcultures which people know about from the outside but not the inside." Similarly, she says, "the paparazzi do not let people into their world," one that combines stealth with aggressiveness, and artistic vision with desperation to capture their evasive subjects.
For her photo of the photographer, Katz used a Canon EOS 20D digital SLR with a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM wide-angle zoom.

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