The other week, while walking into the press area to shoot a concert, a little girl pointed at me excitedly and said to her mom "Mommy look it's a paparazzi!" It's official, the youth have spoken, anyone with a camera is a paparazzi.
I used to get angry, upset, even bitter when people confused a photojournalist with a paparazzi; however, now i've just come to accept the fact, the two words have become synonymous. It's not just us...people also incorrectly overgeneralize and call: doctors "quacks", lawyers "ambulance chasers", bankers "thieves", and used car salesman "scum." So here is some info to give you an idea of what a paparazzi agency really looks like.
World Entertainment News Network: The "World Entertainment News Network" or WENN for short, sounds so official and awe inspiring. The first time I encountered this paparazzi breed, I was shooting a red carpet at a Kim Kardashian event. There was a woman from WENN standing behind me, shreaking in the most blood curdling horrifying scream "Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiim, Kiiiiiiiiiiiiim!" As if someone were unleashing her into a cage of ravenous bears and the only way to save her life was to get Kim Kardashian to look at her.
Pacific Coast News: We don't see them around Chicago, after all they are "The Pacific Coast News." Famous for bringing you 75 % of every Lindsay Lohan & Paris Hilton photo known to man, among anything else happening in California. In fact one time, when Lindsay was moving into a new home in Malibu, her car battery went dead. The first people to run out and jump start her car? Oh yes...paparazzi from "The Pacific Coast News." Most recently a photographer from "The Pacific Coast News" snapped a shot of an emaciated and seemingly dying Steve Jobs (Apple's former CEO). Wow that's classy.
Fame Pictures: They describe themselves as being "known to our American and international clients to be an agency with 100% reliability, honesty, honor, and integrity." They must mean having integrity, from the standpoint they always send their photos on time if the check is in the mail. Last time I checked they still have paparazzi stalking celeb's children on a daily basis.
Splash News: The tagline on their site says "The people paparazzi, get paid for your photos." Here is how they explain themselves: "The age of the People Paparazzi is here. There are four billion mobile phones in the world today with cameras and everyone has a camera. Splash has led the way in selling the public's images to websites, magazines, newspapers and TV around the world" (Splashnewsonline.com). Seriously do I even need to do a quick writeup on them?
In conclusion, I own a camera, therefore I am a paparazzi.