The Paparazzi Expat
A few days ago I received an email from what I had previously thought was a reputable media agency in New York, asking me if I knew of a good “paparazzi style” photographer on the island or, failing that, would I be prepared to “do the job”? Apparently, there was a Very Important Person on the island, and the magazine wanted to obtain a collection of photos for their publications, as well as providing material for others who were interested.
Our islands regularly welcome a fair number of the famous, rich and powerful and well-heeled members of society. We are used to accommodating film stars, rappers, royals and politicians, corrupt or otherwise. We often see them out and about, in bars, restaurants or local shops. Indeed, I had a brief chat with one celebrity, who will remain nameless, over the cheese counter at Carrefour only last week. It was good to see him looking so relaxed, and he appeared so much smaller, as well better presented, in real life than he does on the TV screen. I did not ask for an autograph, but merely suggested that he ask the assistant for a piece of the cheese to sample before purchase. He seemed grateful for my suggestion.
Most of the better hotels and restaurants on the islands appreciate the privacy and discretion that their more famous clients expect; sensibly recognising that it is essential for future recommendations and business. There are exceptions, of course, but it is rare. It is quite simple; those businesses that are not discrete simply lose business, and word gets around fast on an island.
Maybe we are being spoilsports for not joining in with the fun. After all, just a few photos with a long lens of a beautiful girl or a good looking guy sunbathing on one of our beautiful beaches would provide some titivation and entertainment on a wet, cold Sunday morning for readers in the UK or US. Surely there is no harm in a little of that? Actually there is, and many see the behaviour of those engaged in paparazzi style activities as akin to stalking, taking advantage and invading personal space.
In many countries, anti-stalking laws are rightly in place to protect the lives of public figures and celebrities. As we have heard in the lengthy phone hacking trials in the UK, the courts agree that everyone is entitled to some degree of privacy in their lives, and the general public is beginning to recognise that there is a line, albeit a fine one, to be drawn between private and public lives. Our lives are not an open book for everyone to read, and some degree of privacy should be guaranteed.
Yes, I do know several excellent and more than capable photographers on the island, but I certainly would not suggest any for paparazzi work attempting to embarrass the rich, famous, powerful or just very fortunate on holiday. Those that I know would not want the job anyway.
If you enjoyed this article, take a look at Barrie’s websites: www.barriemahoney.com and www.thecanaryislander.com or read his book, ‘Letters from the Atlantic’ (ISBN: 9780992767136). Available as paperback, as well as on Kindle, iBooks and Google Play Books.
Photo courtesy of Shazeen Samad via CC.