No doubt about it: our culture is crazy about celebrities. People who are interested in the rich and famous (or not-so-rich and famous) no longer have to find shocking news and sneaky pictures only in gossip magazines and tabloids. Look at your friend’s most recent Instagram story or tweet to find out more.In the 1950s and 1960s, when people became more interested in Hollywood and celebrity culture, they wanted to meet famous people and get a look into their private lives. Something interesting about how carefully a public figure’s life is planned is interesting, and when it meets with everyday life, it’s fun to feel like we’re all the same.

The paparazzi come in. Before there were social networks, video sharing websites, and entertainment news stations that were on all the time, these photographers were the only way to get a glimpse into the everyday lives of celebrities. They were able to show them doing normal things like getting a peppermint mocha, shopping at Target, and walking around anywhere. The paparazzi, who are independent photographers who take pictures of famous people, are seen as a bothersome and, in the worst cases, dangerous group these days. How did this job come to be, though?
Starting from La Dolce Vita: How a Problem Began
Paparazzi are people who take pictures of famous people when they see them but are not connected to mainstream media. Through their photos, these swindlers make stars seem normal, even approachable. The name “paparazzi” may seem like a random choice, but it comes from Walter Santesso’s role as a news photographer named Paparazzo in the 1960 Federico Fellini movie La Dolce Vita. “Paparazzo… suggests to me a buzzing insect, hovering, darting, stinging,” Fellini said in an interview with Time. Basically, a bit like a mosquito—a pest in the wild.

Some film historians disagree with this story about where the word “paparazzi” came from, but by the 1960s, it was clearly used to talk about Hollywood’s nosy photographers. Languages that don’t use the Latin alphabet have picked up the Italian term, such as Japanese, Russian, and Hebrew. The Chinese characters used to show paparazzi sort of mean “puppy squad,” which sounds a lot cuter than “horde of mosquitoes.”

People generally think that paparazzi are nosy by nature, and the Italian photographer Rino Barillari played a big role in shaping this idea. When actor and bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay got tired of Barillari’s bothersome behaviour, he attacked the so-called “King of Paparazzi” on the street in 1963 (see above).
Not-So-Sweet Life for Famous People Who Get Photographed
Not long ago, actress Anita Ekberg got tired of the paparazzi waiting outside her house and went out into the street with a bow and arrow (see picture). While fights like Hargitay’s and threats like Ekberg’s may seem over the top at first, there’s no denying that paparazzi photographers act like stalkers by following celebrities around. Audrey Hepburn often just ignored the people taking pictures of her, but not everyone is that patient.

Galella v. Onassis, which happened in 1972, was a major case in the history of photojournalism. The event that started it? Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis told her Secret Service agents to destroy Ron Galella’s camera and film after he harassed her in Central Park, New York City. Galella sued, and Jackie O. sued back. In the end, the ex-First Lady got a restraining order to save her children and herself.

Because of that case, many US states have passed laws and set curfews to make the paparazzi less of a threat to celebrities’ private lives. California lawmakers passed a bill in 2013 to protect the children of famous people and stop people from harassing them.

In the U.S. and other places, laws against stalking and even a few restraining orders have helped stop unwanted attention on celebrities and given them some privacy. Everything that happened, of course, happened after the worst and most famous paparazzi incident. The Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed died in a car accident in 1997. Their driver was going fast to get away from a bunch of photographers. It was later found that the crash may have also been caused by someone being drunk, but several paparazzi photographers were initially detained and then released.
In this day and age of social media, paparazzi
In the early 2000s, Photoshop became the new thing for gossip magazines. But these magazines and new online entertainment sites still needed new pictures of celebrities to read. As soon as a picture that a lot of people wanted was taken, it was sure to be all over the internet. For instance, Mel Bouzad, one of the best paparazzi in Los Angeles in the early to mid-2000s, said that a picture of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck (#Bennifer) in Georgia after their public breakup made him a huge $150,000. Recently, there’s been more talk about whether stars have the right to complain about the paparazzi. Why the argument?

These stars are well-known, so being seen is part of the deal. Of course, celebrities need attention, and some have been able to control the paparazzi to get what they want, but it’s still a bothersome business. Also, it’s always cool when a fan fights back against snoops. (That’s right, Anne Hathaway.)

Cara Delevingne, an actress and model, tweeted in 2016 that the rude paparazzi had treated her like a “zoo animal.” The paparazzi can now follow celebrities around thanks to IG posts. The same fans who seem to want pictures of celebrities backed Delevingne’s right to privacy. Now that we have social media, it’s easier than ever to connect with celebrities, and a lot of them choose to share themselves with us. A hand-picked exposure. Still, this hasn’t stopped paparazzi; it’s just made a new generation of photographers who know how to use social media.

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