When we think of paparazzi, we usually think of bullish, headstrong photographers interrupting people’s privacy with obnoxious flashes and giant SLR lenses. But it isn’t just that. In this entertaining short documentary, we follow Giles Harrison, a 20-year industry vet and permanent fixture in LA’s celebrity scene, on a morning round through suburban streets while hunting for local celebrities doing mundane things. Harrison is intelligent and down-to-earth, and the video is pretty insightful:
What We Learned About Paparazzi
- They travel in style. (Giles drives an Escalade.)
- You’ve got to go where celebrities are. (He drives around the same streets until noon.)
- Some aren’t worth the cost of a Jamba Juice. (He ignores a tip-off about Zach Galifianakis, whom Giles “can’t give away”.)
Giles has to keep his eyes out constantly. Just last week he saw Dylan McDermott doing pushups in jeans and a shirt in the middle of a street. There was no context whatsoever, but he sold the shot to local magazine for a good bit of cash.
“Pretty much, a celebrity doing almost anything is worth me stopping and taking a picture. I’ve taken a picture of somebody so much as plugging a parking meter. It’s sold.”
Giles also has some very good points about the nature of parasitism and celebrity idolatry:
“As much as a celebrity doesn’t wanna be disrespected by a photographer, no photographer wants to be disrespected by a celebrity. I mean, I’ve been spit on. You think, if I turned around and spit on a celebrity, what do you think’s going to happen to me? I’m going to jail.”
At the end of the day, do we see Giles snipe down any celebrities? It depends. If you’ve seen 1978’s suburban screwball comedy Harper Valley PTA. (featuring an uncredited teenage Woody Harrselson), then yes, they ran across this gentleman who’s surprised anyone even recognized him:
Otherwise, no; it was just another dollarless day.
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