Sunday, October 12, 2014


I had to check on the spelling of this word.  You can find the word's origin in wikipedia.  Paparazzi refers to photographers who follow politicians, entertainers and other celebrities to take candid pictures.  The definition in wikipedia somewhat connotes a stalker, which in the way I'm using it, does not really relate.

I’ve been a part of this bunch of photographers in the past specifically when taking pictures of my children’s events when we parents hound the kids and fight for the best space to take their pictures.  It’s a chore that has caused some arguments, with the event announcer repeating on the microphone for the parents to back away and to move back to their respective places.  This really hasn’t been a good example to the kids who watch as their own parents become “pasaways” or disobedient to the organizers or authorities that be.

This weekend Quezon City celebrates its Diamond Jubilee - it was 75 years ago on October 12, 1939 when Manuel L. Quezon signed Commonwealth Act No. 152 creating Quezon City.  (You can refer to this pdf document for more information). Several events have been organized to commemorate this special event including several foodfests in different parts of the city, including Laloma.  Laloma is known as the lechon capital of the Philippines and as such there was a lechon boodle fight (refer to my Budol Fight post) where several streets were closed to make room for the long rows or tables where the feast of lechon and rice were to take place.

Many photographers and television stations were at hand to capture the event.  We had one ticket to the “free lunch” and Jojo said that I should use it so I could get through and take the pictures, although I thought that it would be a hard feat trying to take pictures and eating boodle fight style.  But we had eaten beforehand so even if I didn’t get to eat at the boodle fight, which I didn’t, it was fine.  I went with my camera bag in hand hoping to take good shots of the event.
The paparazzi taking photos of Mayor Herbert Bautista, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte
and other councilors who took the first bite of the lechon during the boodle fight

I found myself being part of the paparazzi, and finding the more professional photographers getting the better spaces.  While I had to content myself in taking pictures of their backs or trying to hold up my camera over their heads - the disadvantage of being 5’2” and not having an aggressive character.  But at times I did find some space and at one point had someone helping out by showing me a good position.  But I couldn’t help but take pictures of those taking pictures, my fellow photographers.  I didn’t know these people, though I believe that some were from the newspapers, maybe one of the many photographers whose works I’ve seen in the Inquirer.   Others like me just hobbyists wanting to capture the event.  Some had very fancy cameras and lenses, carrying big camera bags, some with assistants carrying tripods, others using point-and-shoot or ipads or iphones.  I could see the focus on their faces, looking around, setting their cameras and checking their work, following the politicians and other "subjects of interest", taking pictures of the boodle fight, hoping to get that best shot to tell the story.

It was a hot day yesterday and my skin turned several shades darker due to the heat of the midday sun.  I was sweating but didn’t mind.  I was hit on the head a few times, not too hard, not sure by what - it could’ve been someone’s arm or camera.    I walked several times back and forth the streets, capturing the before and after moments of the event and watching the senior citizen’s dance.  I felt the tiredness when I came home, drinking water to cool myself and turning the electric fan on high.  Ahh such is the life of being part of the paparazzi.


Anonymous said...

Photography is something we share, Eileen. We take our camera to parties, baptisms, even wakes/funerals. Of course, we are sensitive to the situation because there are cases when taking pics is not in order.

Then people have asked us to do or help in picture-taking. At times, others assume. When asked, we jot down setups. The resultant photo CD then becomes a gift to the folks. Always appreciated much.

You brought a point about positioning. If possible, be in a vantage point before, it's done. It's just that in formal events, awkward and distracting to be moving around.

Celebrants have takes by their cake, gift table, etc. For weddings, newlyweds at each table. For debuts, one mistake shooters do is have the debutante AND escort go to each group. Only the 18-year-old woman. The escort is not the star. Had to set aside a guy, the female's boyfriend. But agreed for the pair to have snapshots.

If clearly the designated one and several others have cameras, tablets, and cell phones, it can be frustrating because the subjects end up looking at different lenses. The answer is let all know you are officially in charge. Then have the targets first look at you for the initial takes. When done, the rest may fire at will.

If with guests/visitors who accept our invitation to Mass, it's evangelical to capture them perhaps outside the church, by the altar/a statue, during liturgy (flashless if possible), perhaps with the padre while he greets attendees.

Got any tips? :o) Pete

Eileen Apostol said...

Actually I should be asking you Pete for tips since you're the more experienced photographer. So true about almost everyone having cameras, at times outnumbering those who are posing in front of the camera. I understand your dilemma about that debutante, it is her party after all and not like a wedding where the two are always seen together. Sana matagal pa bago mangyari ang wedding pictures :) The official photographer at the kid's school also has the same trouble, he would have to tell everyone else to not take pictures so the children will not be distracted and look at the official camera. Plus all the flashes from the other cameras ruins the official picture.

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