I had never heard the word “paparazzi” until the death of Princess Diana occurred, and they were the ones to blame. Being 11, I didn’t understand why this paparazzi gang or whatever it was wasn’t being arrested for their crimes. Then I learned that paparazzi was just another name for a photographer, and I couldn’t imagine how ruthless these people could be. Since then, I have seen the word used a thousand times a day in the media. This seemingly sudden explosion in celebrity photos, especially scandalous ones, makes these people almost as famous as the people they are shooting. Of course, we don’t know any of their names or faces, but we do know their work.

The word “paparazzi” is said to come from a character in the Fellini film “La Dolce Vita.” There is a character Paparazzo who is a photographer inspired by the famous Italian street photographer, Tazio Secchiaroli who took scandalous photos of enraged celebrities. Now, these photographers are as cunning as private detectives though not as honorable. They hang out on street corners, waiting for celebrities to appear or until one of their informers tips them off. One such informer is called an autographed. Like, paparazzi they also make money off of stars’ fame by stalking celebrities and asking for autographs to sell to fans. Paparazzi pay them for the whereabouts of certain celebrities and follow them on the job to snap pictures of any celebrity they encounter.

Of course, the more scandalous or outrageous the photo, the more it will be worth. So paparazzi do and say whatever they can to get the most unflattering images out of a celebrity. However, they have to make sure that whatever shot they get is of the star in public. Otherwise, there will be legal matters to attend to. If the star is in a private place, they must stand at a distance on public land in order to get a legitimate shot, if you can all any work they do legitimate.

After a shot is taken, the paparazzi sell their photos to the highest bidder. These can sell for a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the quality, star featured, and situation they’re in. Not too many get rich as a paparazzi photographer which means that they are basically making celebrities’ lives miserable for nothing. Some have gotten rich, however, and they even have agents who will find buyers for their photos.

When it comes down to it, it doesn’t seem like what the paparazzi do is legal. The Black’s Laws Dictionary speaks of a right to personal autonomy, but our constitution says nothing specific about a right to privacy implied by other factors of the constitution. A person is also protected by unwarranted public scrutiny or exposure, otherwise known as a right to privacy. However, there is a loophole for celebrities which make them vulnerable to such practices. In the end, it is a fact of life that celebrities must live with. The public can help by ignoring the gossip and not buying magazines featuring these pictures or watching celebrity gossip shows on TV, but people’s curiosity cannot fight the urge to hear the latest story, even if it isn’t true.


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