In a world where knowing everything about a celebrity is in, it’s expected for paparazzi to fight tooth and nail for a competitive edge. Whether they’re dangling over a ledge for a sneaky shot or waiting outside of a club to snap evidence of a late-night rendezvous, paparazzi will stop at nothing to capture a moment worth buckets of cash on film. While they used to only be found camped outside of popular venues and hotels, paparazzi have branched out into an entirely new breed of merciless predator. From weaving through traffic to intentionally taking scandalous shots, some photographers do everything within their power to obtain the money shot.
When people think of out-of-control paparazzi today, many forget the anguish suffered by Princess Diana in her day. Plagued by attention after marrying into and divorcing out of the royal family, Princess Diana was a prime target for the watchful eye of photographers’ lenses. The unwanted attention was at a fever pitch at the time of her death, sparking outrage in the media. Many blamed the paparazzi for her death, though it was later proven to be caused by her driver’s intoxication. Regardless of the outcome, many today still hold a grudge against the prying eyes of the paparazzi in her death.
A money shot in today’s market unfortunately isn’t a celebrity behaving nicely. Oftentimes, these money shots rely on the paparazzi catching celebrities at their worst, whether they’re drunkenly stumbling out of a club or arguing in public. This negative aim of the game has led to an all-time tension between celebrities and their paparazzi following. Obtaining these shots is becoming harder and harder with celebrities stepping up security in the wake of several scary run-ins with photographers.
Justin Bieber recently was pulled into headlines when a photographer chasing his car was struck by a vehicle and killed. The paparazzo was reportedly the one who was fierce in his pursuit of photographing Bieber, unfortunately leading to his untimely demise. Though a tragedy, many are left wondering if a quick photograph is really worth risking your own life or the lives of others.
Many have reported photographers driving erratic, weaving in and out of traffic like a bat out of hell in a pursuit. Often in a chase, photographers run red lights or even cause accidents with their recklessness. Actress Tori Spelling was injured in a car accident while being chased by the paparazzi in 2011 outside of her children’s school, leading to an explosion of anger across the Hollywood spectrum. Though uninjured, Spelling was further outraged when the paparazzo reportedly started snapping photographs of her instead of helping her at the scene.
Celebrities have been speaking out for years against such extreme ways, with many calling the behavior stalking. Nothing appears to be off limits, and the craze has been pushing all the wrong buttons with some celebs. Actor Alec Baldwin reportedly lost his temper with a photographer who waited outside a building while he received his wedding license, punching the man in the face seemingly out of exasperation. This maddening anger has been going on for decades, with acclaimed actor Sean Penn famously losing it on paparazzi, unleashing a violent tirade against two photographers in the 1980s. While intended to let loose frustration, this violence only adds to the fire, with photographs of the melee splashing across the news media the following day.
Others complain of the paparazzi’s blatant lack of respect for women, oftentimes intentionally aiming for upskirt shots of Hollywood’s leading ladies, all for the almighty dollar. Whether they’re exiting a car or sunning themselves on a sandy beach, women are a target for the watchful eye of a photographer’s lens. Many famous celebrities have fallen victim to this cruel practice, from the gorgeous Anne Hathaway to pop star Britney Spears. Even the royals aren’t spared, with a topless spread of the beautiful Kate Middleton printing in 2012.
All the hoopla surrounding the paparazzi has led to talks between government officials with the aim of providing a safer environment for all involved. Those looking for laws against aggressive paparazzi claim that better laws could ease the frenzy of feeding photographers, while opponents call the measures a waste of time. Regardless of what side a person takes, there is no way to debate that photographers are getting bolder and more brazen, whether they’re baiting celebrities for a foul reaction or sneaking an impure shot.
There is a delicate balance between being behind the scenes and being in someone’s personal life. This fine line has been crossed time and time again, sometimes with invitation, though mostly against celebrities’ wills. Once this balance is restored, the relationship between paparazzi and celebrities will be much happier and healthier for all involved.