March 28, 2013

Instagram and the New Era of Paparazzi

Earlier this week, a rare and new photo of the pop star Beyoncé and her daughter, Blue Ivy, quickly spread around the Internet, on various celebrity and gossip sites.

There was nothing particularly unusual about the photo itself: It was a simple shot of the singer, smiling, carrying her sleepy daughter as they exited a restaurant in Brooklyn.

But the paparazzi-style photo did not come from a typical photographer: It came from Instagram.
Raquel Sabz, who goes by the online name “Rich Girl on a Budget,” appears to have posted the photograph on Instagram and Twitter late Sunday night. (The photo has since been deleted from Instagram, although her Twitter post remains online.) Not long after, Splash News purchased the photo for an undisclosed amount and distributed it to a number of sites, including, and The Huffington Post.

Ms. Sabz declined requests for an interview and referred to Splash News for more information about the sale and transactions. Inquiries to Splash News did not result in an interview.

Molly Goodson, a senior editor and the vice president for content at PopSugar, a celebrity news site, was among those who purchased the photograph of Beyoncé with her child.

The average person has eyes in places where regular paparazzi don’t have them, she said. “The whole world becomes a photo agency at that point. More so than ever before.”

Ms. Goodson said that during her six-year tenure at PopSugar, she has seen the rapid rise of Instagram as a popular source for images of famous people in the wild. This is partly because of the spread of smartphones with more-than-decent cameras, and the ability to publish instantly anywhere, anytime, within seconds and reach millions by posting photos publicly across the network of social media sites.

It is also partly because of celebrities who have taken their public images into their own hands and publish photos on Instagram and Twitter, as well as support staffers, like hairstylists and makeup artists, who do the same. Ms. Goodson gave the Oscars as an example, with the first images of celebrities attending the affair trickling out through the Web, rather than through traditional sources.
“That was the first place you would see any dresses or what Jennifer Lawrence is wearing,” she said. “It’s not the photo agency or TV.”

It’s a striking shift from the way those photos were distributed historically.

“The old school way was that you would get an e-mail that said, ‘I was on vacation and saw so-and-so and I’d like to sell it to you,’” she said. “Fans are far less likely to do that now. They’d rather share it themselves first on Twitter and Instagram than sell it immediately. People are dedicated to gaining their own followings and that’s the best way to do that.”

Before, she said, the asking price for photos could stretch into the hundreds of thousands, depending on the rarity of the sighting. But now, because most people see them first on sites like Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, it’s harder to command a hefty price tag. Photos can go for a fraction of their historically high cost, she said.

“It’s certainly devalued by the fact that it’s already out there,” she said.

March 27, 2013

'Mad Men' Star Jon Hamm Slams Paparazzi

Jon Hamm is getting pretty sick and tired of being praised for his private parts lately and he has finally “opened up” and “revealed” that he is not a fan of the talk or the pictures of his crotch at all.
Hamm, who is on the cover of Rolling Stone’s recent issue, is asked if he knows about the recent fascination with his land down under: “Yeah, I’m familiar.”

Hamm continues to talk about how he feels about all the focus on his man-hamm (awful word choice on my part)

“Most of it’s tongue-in-cheek, but it is a little rude. It just speaks to a broader freedom that people feel like they have — a prurience.” All this talk about Hamm’s privates began when the Daily News reported that Hamm was asked to wear undergarments for the new season of Mad Men due to the very tight pants of the 1960s-area.

“They’re called ‘privates’ for a reason. I’m wearing pants, for f–k’s sake. Lay off. I mean, it’s not like I’m a f—ing lead miner. There are harder jobs in the world. But when people feel the freedom to create Tumblr accounts about my c–k, I feel like that wasn’t part of the deal [of fame].”

Hamm “wraps” up his thoughts with: “But whatever. I guess it’s better than being called out for the opposite.”

Sean Penn's Son RAMS Photog F*** You N***er

Sean Penn's son handled a paparazzo in Beverly Hills today much the way his father used to ... violently ramming the photog -- and also calling the guy a "f***ot" and a "n***er."

19-year-old Hopper Penn was following his dad into a medical building when he got into the altercation with an African-American photographer (not TMZ's).

The nuclear exchange was all caught on tape ... Hopper gets up in the photog's face, pushing him, then says, "F*** you ... you're a f***ing f***ot ... shut up you f***ing n***er."

Cops happened to be nearby at the time and heard the commotion. Law enforcement sources tell us, officers asked what happened ... but the photog said it was just a verbal argument, and he didn't want to press charges.

Hopper tells TMZ his side of the story is ... “I was accosted by paparazzi and made to feel like an animal - threatened and under attack, but that does not condone my own actions." 

He adds, "I deeply regret my choice of words.”

March 26, 2013

Sipa Press reborn as court appoints new management team

Sipa Press photo agency, which went into bankruptcy in November after its German parent company closed its doors, will be saved, following a French court ruling.

A Paris court has ruled to save Sipa Press, which went into bankruptcy in November last year after the photo agency's German parent company closed its doors, finds Michel Puech of Le Journal de la Photographie.

The court approved the takeover bid presented by Miguel Ferro, CEO of the British agency Rex Features, and Paul Marnef of the Belgium agency Isopix. The court rejected the offer presented by NJJ Capital, a company owned by Xavier Niel of Free, in collaboration with Le Monde's managing team. Niel had expressed his desire to acquire the agency's archives to commercialise them online.

Unfortunately for Niel, he had also partnered with G Groupe X, a conglomerate of companies that have little to no relation to the agency and the media market in general, other than owning two weekly magazines in the South of France. Niel's offer was also rejected by the agency's employees, who argued that Sipa Press couldn't continue to exist without its archives.
Changes afoot?

The proposal – supported by Rex Features, which will own 50 percent of the new agency, and Isopix (13.3 percent) – received the financial support of two other investors: the US-based CJI Group (30 percent) and Novisys (6.7 percent), a services and solutions provider of cloud, web and middleware solutions.

Charles Jing, president of CJI Group, used to be a photographer himself and is now known as one of the 100 most important collectors of photographic prints. Novisys, meanwhile, was founded by Philippe Mackowiak, who has worked with Sipa in the past and is one of its creditors.

The new owners will now relaunch the agency, 40 years after it was founded by Gökşin Sipahioğlu, the celebrated photographer who died in 2011. Up to 30 employees are expected to lose their jobs out of the current 61 existing staff members. Details of these redundancies will be communicated on 02 April during a planned staff meeting.

The new entity will be called Société Nouvelle Sipa and, while the proposal was made successful thanks to the agency's deputy director Mete Zhinoglu's tireless efforts, SNS will be led by Miguel Ferro.

Rex Features takes control
Ferro, 43, has Spanish roots but is a French citizen. He speaks four languages. He first started working with Rex Features in 2007, advising the board of directors over the acquisition of Berliner Photography in Los Angeles, and was involved in a series of management and operational changes in London over the years, as Rex Features became the second-biggest British agency. In 2010, Getty Images attempted to acquire Rex Features. The deal, however, was scrapped after the Office of Fair Trading expressed concerns that the "loss of Rex as an independent competitor could enable Getty to increase prices for customers".

Interviewed yesterday, Ferro said he was happy to hear the court's decision. "This victory, however, is bitter as not everyone will be part of the new [company]. We will have to part with more than 30 people."

He adds: "I won't be able to move to Paris right away as I have two children attending school in London, but I will devote most of my time to Sipa. For the past year, I've modernised the management team at Rex Features and I'm now no more than an active shareholder."

"One of the biggest flaws with photo agencies today is that they aren't run like a business," Ferro continues. "Instead, they are run like paternalistic companies that report to one charismatic leader. This type of management style belongs to the past. Our business has changed, so our methods must follow suit. At Rex Features these days, selling images accounts for just five percent of our revenues. Today, an agency cannot simply sell photographs, it has to offer different services to its clients. At Sipa, we are going to have to strengthen the sales team; we'll have to change people's mindsets. And the photographers must be taken care of. In London, we have two employees that are in charge of managing photographers. We have a lot to do."

When asked who he will choose to support him, Ferro doesn't hesitate one second: "Mete Zhinoglu will be my right-hand man. He knows the customers, the photographers and the employees. As I said, we have to build a strong team so that, whatever happens to either one of us, the agency will continue."

Mete Zihnioglu doesn't dismiss the idea of moving Sipa out of its current location. "I've been negotiating with the landlords for years now," he says. "We are already in agreement that we won't move our archives from the secured basement. But we have to renegotiate our terms when it comes to the offices. If we can't agree on a new deal, it wouldn't be difficult to move 100 metres down the street."

Yet the agency will change. So far, only the photographers who are under contract with Sipa will form part of SNS. "For the others, we've reached an agreement that will see Sipa split 50/50 on all archives sales, even for our staff photographers." Yet this was news to every single photographer I spoke to.

In the end, Sipa's photographers are disappointed, especially since this latest acquisition follows years of uncertainty. In fact, there are still 20 cases awaiting trial following the latest round of redundancies.

SNS's future will also be reliant on the promise, voiced in court, that the agency will deal with all photographers who have requested the return of their archives. This could lead to more legal woes.
While the photojournalism community has welcomed the news that Sipahioglu's agency will survive, few are willing to bet on its future.

March 9, 2013

Tina Fey Tells Annoying Photographer To "Go F**k Yourself"

Tina Fey doesn't want to talk about Taylor Swift.

The 42-year-old "Admission" star was in no mood to talk about Swift's comment in Vanity Fair, that there's a "special place in hell for women who don't help other women," referencing a joke Fey and Amy Poehler made at the Golden Globe awards about Swift's love life.

E! News has video footage that shows Fey totally brushing off a photographer who asked if she thought Swift overreacted to the joke. Fey responded by laughing and telling him, "Go f**k yourself."

Fey did take a minute to quickly talk to a fan who wanted to say hello, and then told the photographer to "Go f--k yourself" once again, when he asked if she could comment on anything.

Clearly, Fey is totally over all this unnecessary drama surrounding Swift's comments. When Entertainment Tonight spoke to Fey about Swift's comment, she just brushed it off with another joke:

"If anyone was going to get mad at us, I thought it would be James Cameron," Fey said. "I did not see that one coming. It was a joke. It was a lighthearted joke."

Justin Bieber Explodes At Paparazzi, Yells “I’ll Beat F*ck Out Of You!”

Justin Bieber exploded at a paparazzi photographer in London on Friday, leaping from his SUV and screaming, “I’ll f**king beat the f**k out of you!” as handlers held him back.

The incident occurred after the singer briefly made physical contact with the paparazzo as he raced from his hotel to the vehicle.

After the photographer complained that Bieber’s brushback was “assault” and began swearing at him, the pop star jumped back out of his SUV, demanding, “What the f**k did you say?”

Bieber tried to get at the man, threatening, “I’ll f**king beat the f**k out of you!” until his team corralled him and got him back into the vehicle.

Bieber, who collapsed on stage on Thursday and had to be hospitalized, took to Twitter after the altercation.

Ahhhhh! Rough morning. Trying to feel better for this show tonight but let the paps get the best of me…
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) March 8, 2013

Sometimes when people r shoving cameras in your face all day and yelling the worst thing possible at u…well I’m human. Rough week — Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) March 8, 2013

Not gonna let them get the best of me again. Gonna get focused on this show tonight. Adrenaline is high now. Gonna put it on the stage
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) March 8, 2013

Only way someone can break u is if u let them. — Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) March 8, 2013

March 6, 2013

Hawaii passes Steven Tyler bill to protect celebrities’ privacy

The Hawaii state Senate passed the so-called Steven Tyler Act Tuesday, a bill that seeks to protect celebrities from overeager paparazzi by creating a civil violation if people take unwanted photos or videos of others in their private moments.

The Aerosmith front man from Massachusetts asked Sen. Kalani English to sponsor the legislation after unwanted photos were taken of him and his girlfriend in December and published in a national magazine, causing family drama.

Tyler owns a multimillion-dollar home in Maui, which is part of English's district.
Twenty-three of the state's 25 Senate members voted in favor of the bill, which now goes to the House for consideration.

Sen. Sam Slom, the body's only Republican, opposed the measure.

Slom said senators had fun with the bill, but Hawaii has adequate laws protecting privacy and this proposal is an attack on First Amendment rights.

"My final remarks to Steven Tyler, as he sang so eloquently, are, 'Dream on, dream on,' " Slom joked.
Besides Tyler, other celebrities have supported the bill, including Britney Spears, Mick Fleetwood and the Osbourne family.

They say intrusive paparazzi make it difficult to enjoy simple activities with family and friends.
But national media organizations worry about the proposal's impact on freedom of the press. The National Press Photographers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists were some of several national media organizations that submitted testimony opposing the bill.

March 1, 2013

Paparazzo Daniele Lo Presti found dead; bullet wound to his head

Paparazzo 'who found fame when he snapped Brad Pitt with another woman' is found dead with a single execution-style bullet wound to his head in Rome

  • Daniele Lo Presti discovered lying face down in pool of blood on the street
  • Police suggest possible link with his controversial line of work

Daniele Lo Presti
A leading paparazzo who has photographed many of the world's biggest celebrities has been shot dead in Rome.

Daniele Lo Presti was found with a single bullet in his head, prompting fears he had fallen victim to a Mafia-style execution.

The 42-year-old photographer was discovered lying face down in a pool of blood in the Testaccio district in the southwest of Rome on a cycling track where he regularly went jogging.

His body was apparently found by friends with whom he had previously arranged to go running.

Stars who have been photographed by Lo Presti include Rihanna, Beyoncé and Scarlett Johansson.

He also snapped designers Stefano Dolce and Domenico Gabbana on their yacht.

But perhaps his biggest hit came when he snapped pictures in Malta of Brad Pitt with a female assistant, which were said to have angered the actor's fiancée Angelina Jolie.

An officer attached to the investigation said: 'He was killed with a single shot from a small calibre weapon.

'It could be he fell foul of a Mafia crime family or someone else who really didn't want their picture taken.'