…declares Mark Kuschner, now Getty’s new global VP of entertainment after leaving Getty to go to Wireimage and now back at Getty, bought as part of the Mediavast $200 million deal. In a Variety Magazine article (the Bible of the entertainment industry), Kuschner and many other players, comment about the overcrowding of the paparazzi scene. UGC’s become MOP ( Member of the Public) in this field while Getty takes a strong stand declaring it a “cyclical” fad. While they claim that they will never enter the “behind the bushes” scene, they do not make mention of what made wireimage famous, the set up “behind the bushes” photograph.

One great example is the infamous Tom Cruise / Penelope Cruse exclusive shot of them taken by red carpet and wireimage co founder Steve Granitz. It was the first image of the two of them together, taken as they were exiting a restaurant at the same moment as Steve Granitz happened to walk by. The images sold worldwide for a small fortune, helping launch Wireimage at the same time.
It is a notorious fact now that publicists will arrange for these shoots ( I would know, I am guilty of arranging some) as to control the information. These images can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars and I doubt Getty will pass on it, if offered. However, what happens to Getty’s famous journalistic integrity? Is a set up image photojournalism or does celebrity photography not obliged to follow the same ethics?

This will be a hair pulling issue for Mark Kushner and his team.

The article is reminiscent of what the traditional stock photo industry is already complaining about. Crowdsourcing becomes oversourcing. There are too many photographers, including the wire services, entering this field. Blame it on Paris Hilton who even forced World Press award winner Nick Ut to become one of these plebeian snappers. Blame in on Getty, who purchased Scoopt and is already adding some of the images to its website ( type “scoopt” in the search field). At a 70/30 commission, its a bargain. And a deviant and clever way to get MOP (or UGC?) images of celebrities without asking for it.

As Peter Grossman of US Weekly continues, papparrazi is not about to disappear. Never did and never will. If Getty wants to be a major player in the celebrity field, it will have to work its way into this very lucrative business and get their hands dirty. After all, when they bought Mediavast, they also bought the images of fame paparazzi shooter Ron Gallela. Would they dare delete these images because they are not publicity approved or will they hypocritically classify them as “historical”? And after how long paparazzi images gain this status? finally, one has to take those images in order to let them age to that “historical” status.

A hard call for agency eater Getty and certainly a wrong one if they believe this business to be cyclical.

Paparazzi are closer to real photojournalists then anyone would admit. Instead of taken pictures of what is offered to them as “news”, they actually go out of their way to captureĀ  the real Hollywood. They are not embedded or pooled, and like the other photojournalist, will go to great length to capture the truth. Granted, they might not get shot, and they will never win the World Press, but they also contribute to showing our world the way it is, the way it truly is.
A very good article that one should read, if only to get a better sense of the celebrity space.

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