March 31, 2011

Live Demo of Photoshop on the iPad

Adobe is working on a full version of Photoshop for the iPad for people who need more than the Photoshop Express app that’s more designed for mobile phones. At Photoshop World, which kicked off earlier this week, Adobe gave a neat demo of the app in action, and Eric Reagan over at Photography Bay recorded the video above. It’s a neat look at how they’re trying to rethink the popular program for a different kind of computer.

March 28, 2011

Sean Penn Settles Paparazzi Lawsuit

Sean Penn's paparazzi attack case is now over and out -- almost a year after Sean plead no contest to vandalism ... TMZ has learned Penn and the pap have settled the photog's civil suit.

Penn got 36 months probation and was ordered to perform 300 hours of community service stemming from an incident where he kicked a photog who was trying to film him.

The photog filed a civil suit, claiming he suffered a knee injury as a result of Penn's attack.

Both sides signed the settlement docs today. No word on how much Penn had to shell out.

March 25, 2011

Payola: Starring Lindsay Lohan and Co.

On the surface it seems the starlet making her coincidental rounds here in NYC is just that- a coincidence. But a careful examination of the rounds she has actually made and who was there to take the pictures may just show another side of this young woman’s descent in the popularity stakes. If one could apply the term smoke and mirrors- then this dears is the time to pull out a frothy glass of last weeks left over champagne and ask yourself- ‘How is it that these unemployed actresses manage to retain viability in a dog eat world?’

The answer in short: Payola. Or as they say in polite society (assuming such things still exist in your neck of the woods)- ‘orchestrated photo ops,’ staring your vixen of choice, the photographer agent (in our pressing case we present you startrakphotos), the vendor who pays off the vixen (in Lindsay’s case this weekend it was Bowlmor Lanes- you remember them, a bowling alley somewhere in your imagination) and the publications that then turn around and pay Albert Ferrara and Michael Simons (who orchestrates these deals) of Startraks his much needed pot of honey for the exclusive rights for all these ‘coincidental photo ops.’ Of course this would never have come to pass if it hadn’t been for Stephanie Simon, Michael Simon’s sister who happens to be a talent agent closely aligned to the Lohan camp.

In short it’s a wonderful illusion and one of the best kept secrets amongst media folks who like to turn a blind eye to such illegal behavior (illegal in the sense that it’s not reported as a staged coup d’etat but as news despite a 2009 Fair Trade Acts ruling governing endorsements and testimonials which has outlawed such egregious behavior) and have you the dear reader choking on your daily helping of celebrity gossip and nonsense. But then again, who doesn’t mind a bit of nonsense with your daily crumpet and this morning’s healthy serving of Champagne…?

It’s a Friday afternoon and out of the decks of lets have fun and go bowling adventures arises the visage of Lindsay Lohan and her brood circa 3 pm. The event itself was widely reported by the news outlets whose business it is to keep you attuned to the ongoings of your favorite media whore. So whilst the outlets came and rushed to take their shiny pictures (at a heavily guarded distance mind you) the real pictures were being taken inside the lanes by Startrak photos- the sole exclusive photo agency who somehow managed to be sitting miraculously on the corner scoop just in time for Lilo to walk by, give Albert Ferrara a high five and whisper deliciously in his ear- ‘do you feel like making a quick quid on the house- then follow me.’ 

The truth of the matter is: nothing about these pictures was coincidental. Nothing. Zilch. It was fabricated. Planned before Lindsay even got on the plane from Los Angeles and touched down in NYC for what her family likes to call her ‘let’s come to NYC and relax kissing out the window sessions.” To think the actress (well to be correct we ought to call her a reality actress as opposed to a film actress- from know on I will re christen Lilo- ‘Real Lilo’) just decided to rock up for a private game of bowling (the session by the way only lasted 40 minutes- funny, last time I went bowling- it took me a day and a half just to put on the bowling shoes) and lo and behold the ‘right press’ just happened to be there waiting for her at a moments notice ready to snap her cheery life away. While the ‘other press’ (the ones without the co opted money deals) were kept at a furious distance. Ho- hum…


March 23, 2011

How Elizabeth Taylor redefined celebrity

Elizabeth Taylor won two Oscars but many people remember her as much for her eight tumultuous marriages, ill health and addictions, all lived out in a way more public than any Hollywood star had done before.

Her life read like a script for many of today's Hollywood celebrities - she was a child star whose life was played out in the media, someone who was hounded by the paparazzi, had high profile relationships, and even battled drug addiction.

Elizabeth Taylor, who has died aged 79, in many ways defined the notion of modern day celebrity, someone whose life off-screen, as well as on, captivated millions.

"She was one of the first to really make her personal life as important as her professional life in terms of her stardom," says William Mann, a biographer of Taylor.

One of the main reasons was that her personal life had a gripping narrative of its own. Marrying eight times, twice to the same man, Elizabeth Taylor first went down the aisle at the age of 18. By the time she was 26 she was already a widow.

"People nowadays will do anything for maximum media exposure," says Mann, "but she got maximum media exposure because she lived a life that was fascinating to millions."

But what made her "fascinating" life accessible to millions of readers and viewers was in part the break-up of the old Hollywood studio system in the 1950s.

The end of a system which had allowed the big film companies to effectively control stars' pay and publicity, meant the studios could no longer hush up personal scandals for fear of damaging a star's reputation, says Mann.

"Up until then, the studios owned the artists and had unspoken agreements with celebrity magazines so they would tread lightly on people," says Karen Steinheimer, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, and author of Celebrity Culture and the American Dream.

Steinheimer believes that the decline of the studios' power, combined with Taylor's colourful personal life, created a new, more cutting, and less sycophantic style of mainstream media coverage of celebrities - moving towards today's tabloid press.

"Some of the coverage of her first marriage, her first divorce and her affairs, was strikingly more critical than the coverage of most other celebrities at the time," says Steinheimer.

"Looking back at some of the magazines from the early 1960s, you could be mistaken for thinking from the reports that she was the Britney Spears of her day in terms of the negativity and relentless hounding of her and her relationships."'Gotcha' moment

Taylor's romance with her Cleopatra co-star Richard Burton generated huge interest in the media, not only because their romance had transitioned from on-screen to off, but because they were both married to other people at the time.

"It was one of the first times you covered these kind of indiscretions on a large scale," says Dawnie Walton, deputy editor of Life magazine's website.

Taylor's face was regularly on the front of celebrity magazines. Life featured her as a cover girl no fewer than 14 times, more than any other person in the publication's history.

Walton says the turning point for the way Life magazine covered celebrity relationships began with the Burton/Taylor affair, and the candid on-set interviews with the couple were a precursor to the modern day Hello and OK!-style spreads.

Their affair, in the more conservative 1960s, was taboo to many, a landmark moment. In that sense, Steinheimer believes Taylor was the "first victim of the paparazzi".

Pictures of Taylor and Burton on a Mediterranean
yacht in 1962 became a worldwide news event

When Italian photographer Marcello Geppetti captured a picture of the pair frolicking on a yacht in the Mediterranean using a long telephoto lens, at the height of their affair, it became a worldwide news event.

Nowadays pictures of celebrities lounging around in bikinis on holiday are second nature in the tabloid press, but back in 1962, the shots were seen as shocking.

Steinheimer describes them as "one of the first 'gotcha' celebrity moments".

"The paparazzi wouldn't really exist today if it wasn't for them. The photographers got pictures of them going into clubs, they climbed up trees and looked down into her compound," says Mann.

"This might be standard behaviour for Hollywood today, but Elizabeth Taylor created that model," he adds.

Another model which many credit Taylor for is the role of the celebrity as a business entity.

She was the highest-paid actress of her time, negotiating a cool $1m for her role in Cleopatra, as well as a share of the profits for the film. This is now the model for many big stars.

But her business acumen extended beyond Hollywood.

By creating her own jewellery line and a successful perfume range, she became a pioneer in marketing a celebrity merchandise brand. Stars including Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears all now have personal branded lines.

But Taylor will also be remembered for harnessing her star power to help good causes. In the 1980s, after her friend Rock Hudson died, she became one of the first celebrities to speak out about Aids.

"Hollywood took a lesson on that too, and every star now has their own personal cause and charity," says Mann.

While many of today's celebrities are famous for simply being famous, Taylor's essence was still the success of her screen work, argues Barry Adelman, executive producer of the Golden Globes awards show.

"She had the respect of her peers along with everything she was going through," says Adelman who worked with Taylor on a number of occasions.

"She was extraordinarily beautiful, and was considered a good actress. That's not true of a lot of celebrities that today's media are obsessed with."

March 22, 2011

NYT photog sexually assaulted and told 'You'll die tonight'

Sexually assaulted and told 'You'll die tonight'... but spared as she's American: Female journalist's horror at the hands of Gaddafi's men 

A female war photographer from the New York Times revealed tonight how she was repeatedly sexually assaulted during her nightmare hostage ordeal in Libya.

Lynsey Addario was one of four Times journalists have now been released after being held captive by pro-Gaddafi forces.

During their six-day detainment, the Americans were beaten and threatened with being decapitated and shot.

One man grabbed her breasts – the start of a pattern of sexual harassment she endured over the ensuing 48 hours.

‘There was a lot of groping,’ she said. ‘Every man who came in contact with us basically felt every inch of my body short of what was under my clothes.’

As she was being driven away from Ajdabiya, she said another of her captors stroked her head and told her repeatedly that she was going to be killed.

‘He was caressing my head in this sick way, this tender way, saying, "You’re going to die tonight. You’re going to die tonight",‘ she added.

Miss Addario was with Anthony Shadid, the paper’s Beirut bureau chief, photographer Tyler Hicks and reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell when they were seized while leaving the scene of fighting between rebels and Libyan government forces because they decided it had become too dangerous.

Their driver inadvertently drove into a checkpoint manned by troops loyal to the Libyan dictator.

‘I was yelling to the driver, "Keep driving! Don’t stop! Don’t stop!",' said Mr Hicks. ‘I knew that the consequences of being stopped would be very bad.’

As they were being forced out of their gold-coloured sedan, rebels opened fire sending them sprawling for safety.

‘You could see the bullets hitting the dirt,’ said Mr Shadid.

The soldiers forced them all to lie on the ground and they feared they were going to be murdered there and then.

‘I heard in Arabic, "Shoot them",’ said Mr Shadid. ‘And we all thought it was over.’ But then they heard another soldier say: ‘No, they’re Americans. We can’t shoot them.’

The fate of the car driver, Mohamed Shaglouf, is unknown.

The prisoners were tied up using wire, an electrical cord, a scarf and even a pair of laces and bundled into a car that drove them away from the city.

Each time they stopped at a checkpoint, soldiers would punch them or hit them with rifle butts, according to the Times report.

The first night they spent in the back of the vehicle and for the second they were put in a dirty cell with a bottle to urinate in and a jug of water to drink.

On the third day, they were blindfolded and put on a plane to Tripoli, where they were held in reasonable comfort in a safe house until their eventual release this morning.

After Libyan demands for a U.S. diplomat to be sent to Tripoli to collect the journalist was rebuffed, the Turkish Embassy was allowed to act as an intermediary.

Even then there was an agonizing last minute hitch when the planned release on Sunday was postponed because of the coalition bombing.

After the four were safely out of Libya, Bill Keller, the executive editor of the Times, said he was ‘overjoyed’ at the news.

‘Because of the volatile situation in Libya, we’ve kept our enthusiasm and comments in check until they were out of the country, but now feels like a moment for celebration,’ he wrote in a note to the newsroom.

‘We’re particularly indebted to the government of Turkey, which intervened on our behalf to oversee the release of our journalists and bring them to Tunisia,’ Mr Keller added.

‘We were also assisted throughout the week by diplomats from the United States and United Kingdom.’

Thirteen journalists are still said to be either missing in Libya or in government custody.

They include four from the Al Jazeera Arab TV network, two from Agence France-Presse news agency and a photographer from Getty Images. Six Libyan journalists are also unaccounted for.

Last month, South African journalist Lara Logan, Chief Foreign Correspondent for CBS, was also sexually abused while covering scenes of celebration in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Miss Logan was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault before being saved by a group of women and Egyptian soldiers.

The mother-of-two needed hospital treatment on her return to the US.

March 15, 2011

Lindsay Lohan Tweets About Paparazzi Giving Her an Anxiety Attack

Looks like the pressure is starting to get to Lindsay Lohan. On Sunday, the actress -- who still faces the threat of jail time for her alleged shoplifting -- took a plane from L.A. to visit her family back in New York. Unsurprisingly, the paparazzi were lying in wait at JFK International Airport -- but the 24-year-old admits that she freaked when the flashbulbs went off.

"I love ny - but the paparazzi @ jfk just gave me an anxiety attack," Lohan wrote on her Twitter account. "I was half asleep! they're such animals :( well- @ least im with my family in the end.... xo"

March 9, 2011

Dear photographers, Lady Gaga wants the copyright on your work

Lady Gaga is demanding that some photographers transfer all their copyrights to images they make of her as a condition for photographing her concerts, according to TBD, a local news site serving the Washington, DC area.

The site says Jay Westcott, a TBD photographer covering a Lady Gaga concert last week, was presented with a “Photo Release Form” requiring him to transfer copyrights to his concert shots to the star. Westcott called TBD’s offices for a consultation, and TBD editors told him not to sign the agreement and not to shoot the concert.

In its report about the incident, TBD surveyed other photographers, editors, and trade groups (including ASMP) about such copyright transfer demands. The upshot of the story is that for some time now, a few rock megastars–but certainly not all–have demanded copyright transfers from concert photographers because, well, they can.

As TBD notes, the terms on Lady Gaga’s transfer form “are the sort of strict stuff you expect from stars who know darn well that media organizations need them way more than they need media organizations.”


After Miley Cyrus spent the weekend in New York doing the US showbiz rounds with many late night shows such as Saturday Night Live, Miley Cyrus has flown back to LA this week and has already caused some controversy by dying her hair red and having an apparent altercation with the paps.

Recent photos of her released yesterday show Miley popping out for some sushi on Monday with her brother, sporting some rather long red hair. More than happy to show off her new wild hair for the camera's, Miley was not so keen to be papped yesterday as she sported a rather clingy pair of Lycra leggings and trainers as she left a cafe in Toluca Lake yesterday. The 18 year old was photographed apparently trying to grab the paparazzi's camera and giving him a good finger wagging and a telling off!

Bradley Cooper Not Bothered About Paparazzi

Bradley Cooper doesn’t let the paparazzi get to him.

The actor — who’s currently dating actress Renee Zellweger — says he’s happy to be stalked by photographers because being famous means he makes lots of money!

“Being a part of a movie that’s so financially lucrative provides opportunities,” Cooper told Parade magazine.

“And with that coes a higher profile, so you have paparazzi. That was a new thing. You just have to learn to navigate through it all. I still feel I can live a very normal life. For some reason, this past month in LA, there was no problem with paparazzi. You definitely get someone who will recognize you, but that’s nice.”

Cooper then revealed how dealt with sudden fame after The Hangover.

“By then I was 34, and I had already figured out enough to know that if I was going to invest anything in that, then I’m looking for some serious trouble,” he said.

“Now, if that happened to me when I was 23, I probably would have gotten into some trouble. There’s no power in fame at all. If anything, you give up your power. It’s a creation of something that’s completely frivolous and it goes away like that. You never own any of it. All you can do is your work. It’s always been clear to me. I just want to get better and work with great actors and directors. The rest you just have to deal with.”

March 7, 2011

Reuters to distribute ‘paparazzi-type footage’

Reuters says distributing Hollywood TV’s footage of celebrities serves “a crucial role for entertainment programming needs” and complements the celebrity and entertainment coverage currently offered by Reuters. The release is after the jump.

Reuters release
Reuters announced today that it will distribute Hollywood.TV content and footage to their 700+ service users around the world.
Reuters will distribute Hollywood TV’s paparazzi-style footage of celebrities, serving a crucial role for entertainment programming needs and complementing the celebrity and entertainment coverage currently offered by Reuters. The deal further enhances the Reuters America service offering, available via Reuters newly launched unified content platform.
Hollywood.TV is the definitive source for compelling celebrity footage in Southern California and beyond. Their access into the daily lives of stars in Hollywood makes their video indispensable for entertainment and news programming. Hollywood.TV’s team of videographers get the images that will be tomorrow’s breaking news. Hollywood.TV content will become available through Reuters from March 4th.
This announcement follows Reuters agreement earlier this year with the Chinese broadcaster CCTV to distribute their content and scripted footage globally.

March 4, 2011

Bill Would Ban Photos At Accident Scenes

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) – A state lawmaker doesn’t want drivers to stop and take pictures or videos of vehicle accidents.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman reports, a measure to ban that practice has passed an Illinois House committee.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Tom Holbrook (D-Belleville), says amateur photographers often get in the way of emergency personnel.
“Putting your cell phone over the firemen’s shoulders as he’s using the jaws of life, maybe to get your grandmother of the front seat of her car while she’s bleeding,” Holbrook said. “You never know with these things. These are horrendous situations for individuals.”
Holbrook says accident victims would still be able to take pictures for insurance purposes.
But the bill says no person may use a wireless device within 500 feet of an accident, except for specified purposes.

March 2, 2011

Justin Bieber Flips Off Paparazzi

Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's relationship has caused one heck of a media frenzy to get photos of the lovebird snuggling. It also seems that just after two short days of being public lovers, that the couple are feeling the strain of being thrust in the spotlight.

The incident went down reportedly after Justin and Selena's birthday dinner out at Maggiano's. The newly crowned 17-year-old attempted to drive himself and his love away from the numerous photographers when one photographer got up close to the car window and Justin apparently snapped. The photo that resulted from the incident is one of Selena hiding her face through the car's window and an irritated Justin giving the one finger salute!

This photo really has made many Belibers stop to think just who their boy idol is. Has Justin changed from the calm, laid back sweet boy? Has he always been a vulgar boy but hidden it well? Was he pushed too far? Lastly, is he a good role model?

While any of the above could be true or partially true, it's known that stars do not think kindly of their space being invaded. Perhaps the paparazzi photographer was in the wrong to get so close to the car, but isn't the same true for Justin? His behavior will be seen around the world by many fans and parents. This includes many parents who fund his young fan's love of him and make him money.

It's currently unknown what effect, if any, this photo will have on his career. However, it's probably a good idea for the couple not to dine in a very public and well-known eatery in LA. Maybe next time ordering in or getting room service would be a far wiser choice.

UPDATE: Bieber has Tweeted the following apology:
“had a great bday and at the end of the night we got surrounded by paps and i reacted in a way i know better. im sorry... it’s not always easy but i know better than to react in anger.”