GIVE or take a few letters, "paparazzi" has become a four-letter word in Hollywood. Its mere utterance conjures images of photographers hounding starlets at hot spots in order to sell their latest missteps to supermarket rags and gossip sites. It's usually not high-concept art.
But Brad Elterman, co-founder of the paparazzi agency BuzzFoto, wants to show that not all celebrity photographers belong simply in the car-chasing category. With the exhibit "Paparazzi as an Art Form," due Feb. 16-21 at Seyhoun Gallery in West Hollywood, Elterman argues that once in a while there's a diamond in all that dirt.
Elterman says that the group show will chronicle the evolution of pop culture imagery, from his own work as a '70s celebrity photographer tracking Jackie Kennedy Onassis to more recent celebs, such as a Mr. Nunez photo of Paris Hilton in heels and a swimsuit with a surfboard and teacup doggy in tow.
Elterman defends his craft, noting that photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson shot and sold photos of individuals without permission. He speculates that paparazzi photos might be taken seriously as art one day.
Don't laugh too hard. Andy Warhol's "Gold Marilyn Monroe" now hangs at the Museum of Modern Art.
-- Christine N. Ziemba