A couple of days ago I was sent by the New York Post to shoot Robert De Niro walking out of the Manhattan Supreme Court. The tough actor De Niro was the star witness and a larceny victim.
I waited for hours, with two other videographers from another news organization and a handful of photographers. It was the calm before the storm, all of us itching to get just one shot, one pan of De Niro’s face.
I overheard this from one of the photogs.
“You know we’re still journalists, right? We’re a far cry from the Paparazzi”
I had to chuckle. We’re we any different from the infamous paparazzi? I mean here we were waiting for a superstar to show up, just so we can get a clip for our news that day.
Let me describe the scene. There were less than 10 of us all from news medium, no TMZ or Inside Edition. We were barricaded from the entrance by blue wooden frames. It was a visual stopper in case someone got over excited and wanted a real life close up shot and smell of De Niro.
Being the shortest and smallest, I thought I had to muscle my way through, or get stuck shooting feet shots of De Niro. Surprisingly, the other journalists were nice and one even saved me spot. It felt like a community, everyone needed a shot, and everyone made sure they were out of each other’s way. It wasn’t cutthroat.
De Niro had to eventually walk out the door. Did I get the shot? We’ll you’ll have to check it out…
The experience in this shoot was completely different from the Kelsey Grammer wedding news piece I shot last month. Faced with a lot more photographers and the real deal paparazzi–it was an adrenaline rush experience. Think 100 sharks and one body to feast on moment. And yes we the media were the sharks, and unfortunately, I was one of the baby sharks. I wish I could show you the raw footage with a full shot of the photogs rushing towards the actor, almost attacking the newly weds. You can hear me say on tape “this is crazy, just crazy” as I walk away from the madness. It wasn’t necessary for me to bum rush the newlyweds, but I had to move, otherwise the photogs behind me would have flattened me. I should just label this news piece “When the Paparazzi Attack.”
The paparazzi field is a different beast: competitive, cutthroat, and no regard for privacy. But in hanging out with them, even just briefly, I can understand why they do what they do. The thrill and the high you get after capturing a shot is amazing. While you can barely see Grammer in my video, I’m kinda proud that I was there and kept my distance. I am still a journalist, NOT a paparazzo, but sometimes the lines can be blurred.