And a big EPUK welcome to Mrpaparazzi.com, arriving fashionably late to the citizen journalism party. Following in the footsteps of industry pioneer Scoopt – rumoured to be relocating to Silicon Valley and signing a deal with a phone manufacturer to put its software on 10 million cameraphones – and Splash Pictures’ somewhat half-hearted Cash4Pix – Big Pictures has finally got round to their own website to cash in on the trend.
Featuring cartoons of the shy, retiring, and elaborately-coiffured Big Pictures founder Darryn Lyons (“Barber ! Make it look as if my head is on fire !”), the site goes to great lengths to stress the moral implications of pap photography. “You must respect celebrity’s (sic) privacy”, says the website. “Always make sure you use your common sense when getting a photo. There is no point sending us pics that abuse or invade another persons privacy”. Naturally, we can only assume that Mr Lyons must stress this regularly to his stringers.
However, we can’t help feel that this hitherto undisclosed interest in protecting the privacy of the rich and famous sits somewhat uneasily with the other new offering from the Big Pictures stable. For just 25pence per text message, wannabe-paps can subscribe to a messaging service updating them of the whereabouts of celebrity fodder to harass. And unlike most professional paps, where a long lens is the order of the day, camera phones require being up in the face of the person photographed. The end result is akin to not just leaving the teenage kids the key to the drinks cabinet, but leaving them some fake ID, the car keys, and the pager number of the local dealer as well.