Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The paparazzi & the 'pop tart'

"Britney Spear outside L.A. courthouse"

This photo ran big on the front page of today's New York Post. The headline screamed, "Brit flips, flees court on latest crazy day." The boxed teaser text read, "Burnt-out wreck Britney Spear, fresh off a meltdown that ended with her being carried off, launches into yet another wild drama-queen routine yesterday..."

Must read, right?

Actually, I'm not here to pass judgment on this cruel & tawdry spectacle. After all, it wouldn't be a spectacle -- just a small, sad event -- if we weren't so willing to pass judgment. But I do want to share something I came across, via Conscientious, in a recent Telegraph article on photojournalist Nick Ut.

"Paparazzi chasing fire truck"

In the article John Preston writes: "...Fifteen years ago, there were only about 25 paparazzi in LA. These days, between 300 and 400 roam the streets of Beverly Hills. Together, they generate about 120,000 images a week, which are beamed straight to the computer screens of more than 20 specialist agencies

"…Why does anyone do it? That's easy enough: money. A good image, bought non-exclusively, will make between $1,500 and $2,000 for print publication. For exclusive rights of a middling celebrity doing something mildly interesting, you can get as much as $15,000.

"…As for the really big stuff, the potential rewards are almost limitless. Two years ago, US Weekly paid $500,000 for a set of photos of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie walking along a beach in Africa. And this was only for American rights: a worldwide sale could double or even triple that."

Astonishing. The familiar shitpit of indifference & greed makes us all stink. It's not the fault of the photographers alone. Still, for the 1st time on this blog, I'm deliberately leaving off the photo credits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The current issue of Conde Nast Portfolio magazine estimates the total Britney "economy," including record sales, paparazzi and media to be something between $110 and $120 million a year. One photo agency alone that sold $2.5 million's worth of her images in 2007 has a team of photographers on her 24/7. Crazy? Yes. But they wouldn't be there if there wasn't demand for this shit.