THE PUBLICIST: Great photographs and a bad image can take paparazzi far

Entertainment publicists have been having fun this week exchanging e-mails about Steve Sands, an infamous celebrity photographer who was arrested while covering Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent visit to New York.

Entertainment publicists have been having fun this week exchanging e-mails about Steve Sands, an infamous celebrity photographer who was arrested while covering Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent visit to New York.

Loathed for his aggression and ill manners (and loved by the tabloids for the same), Sands allegedly struck an obstructive police officer with his car after having threatened to do just that, according to published news reports. The officer is fine; Sands went to the pokey, and faces a hearing this week. The prickly paparazzo's police predicament has many of the publicists who have "worked" with him laughing with glee. "Perhaps we should all appear as 'lack of character' witnesses," cracked one well-known LA film publicist. "Sands storm!" quipped another. Celebrity photographers are used to bad press, but this incident has lowered the bar further. Of course, living down a bad rep is part of their job. Like umpires, they hear only boos, never cheers. No one appreciates their efforts because no one wants to admit to sneaking a peek at their handiwork while waiting in the checkout line. Pushy, sneaky, rude, obstinate, and sometimes deceitful, the paparazzi rely on those very traits - which I've seen demonstrated in my fellow publicists as well - to ply their trade. "Show me a timid, polite photographer, I'll show you someone who won't get the shot," claims one shooter I know, who has been arrested for trespassing on three occasions. "This job is about the thrill of the hunt. The more elusive the celebrity prey, the more a good photog will want to bag him. We are engaged in primal sport, just like football players." How nice. This is sure not the guy you want shooting your daughter's wedding photos. He'll likely snoop around and end up sending you explicit pictures of the best man fooling around with the maid of honor. I haven't met Sands, but have had plenty of paparazzi encounters, and most of them have been fine. The most memorable occurred at a benefit screening seven years ago. It was heavy on the A-list, and this particular photographer was found hiding in a bathroom stall, presumably biding his time before sneaking into the after-party. He was booted out, only to return in disguise 20 minutes later. He fooled me, but my much more savvy female colleague busted him. Whether you find him resourceful or deceitful probably depends on how often you buy People or The National Enquirer.
  • Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

  • Have you registered with us yet?

    Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

    Register
    Already registered?
    Sign in

    Would you like to post a comment?

    Please Sign in or register.