Sunday, 25 August 2013


Celebrity Superstar : SPUN 2006
Note : I spoke with the artist, Spun, recently and he recalled a piece I had written in defence of the paparazzi. He is an avid reader of the blog and told me he loved the graphics and suggested a collaboration. He had an idea about a piece of his own artwork that would sit with the paparazzi article, I agreed. This was fortuitous because, at the moment, I am working on a piece about state surveillance, which I will call 'PARANOID ANDROID'. I have this piece in development but I am still in the process of research and want to think carefully about this piece before release. It will no doubt alert the National Security Agency and I will have new readers for my blog. For now... Like SPUN, I am grateful to all the people who have taken the trouble to write, I always try to reply and I more than welcome opinions, criticisms ( constructive of course) related to the blog.

Do we really live in such moronic times? Add paradoxical to this description and I think we have an accurate framework for modern existence.

Don't believe all that empty rhetoric about freedom and democracy, hollow sound bites about state security and civilised behaviour, that's about as meaningful as Katie Price having a boob job. And, Katie Price - a.k.a Jordan - and her breasts sell much more media (newspapers, magazines, TV shows) than worries over how the state conducts surveillance of its citizens at home and abroad - please check out Paranoid Android in my next blog.

After all, Katie Price's breasts, or Kirstie Alley's weight gain and weight loss, or Kim Kardashian's maternal feelings are what the majority of us want to know about, and what we will pay our money to find out about.

Consider this growing phenomenon of celebrity and it's natural oxygen the general public and the vehicle by which it connects with the frenzied masses - the, so-called, paparazzi. Those street corner snappers out at all hours of the night and day in all kinds of weather to supply the public with what it wants. Those salacious, prurient and humanising images of the, so-called, stars of stage, screen, reality bubble and rock arena.

For celebrites and their paparazzi - the name is taken from a character in the Frederico Fellini movie La Dolce Vita - it is a relationship both complex and paradoxical.

Often hated and loathed as they go about their business the paparazzi are like a drink to an alcoholic. Craved by the celebrities who depend upon their attentions and certainly irresistable to the general public who devour their images like a swarm of hungry locusts.

It's a fascinating inter-connectivity which produces incredibly complex and intriguing little scenarios between the celebs, the photographers and the general public.

The confusion around this unholy trinity, is, of course, understandable, given the intricate interplay and mutal need that exists between the three groups. The celebrities need the snappers just as much as the paparazzi need to feed the general public with their demands. Millions clamour for the latest celebrity gossip and images, while the celebrities need to know that they are still being fetted by the cameramen to reassure themselves that they are still famous.

So, let's not get too precious about this. Many photographers would much rather spend their working lives out on warfronts, or on the streets of Buenas Aires where homeless women and their children beg for pennies to buy food* or gainfully employed carrying out more 'artistic' assignments. But celebrity is where the work is, it is where the demand is and where there is demand there is cash - fundamental first year economics.

People, after all, have to use the skills they have to feed their kids, pay their mortgages and have a life, remember that?

The relationship between the photographer and the film star, pop star, celebrity is odo et amor. A love-hate encounter where each NEEDS to suck the blood from the other to satisfy the full moon mania of the fickle masses for images of the rich, famous and, often, fabulously moronic.

In a world where a huge chunk of our planet will go to bed hungry tonight, there exists a massive appetite out there for images and insights into the lives of the astronomically wealthy and their behaviour.

Is it me or is living in these times like existing in a parallel universe of extraordinary and often absurd extremes?

(*I know the photographer who worked on this series of photographs. Remember, Argentina has generated an average growth figure of 3.85 per cent since 1994 ( 1994-2013) and yet women with their children are still left homeless and have to beg for scraps in the street. I know, much to his frustration, he found it impossible to get anyone interested?)

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