"$ellebrity" explores paparazzi influence in fame game

Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:32pm EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As one of the entertainment industry's most sought-after photographers, Kevin Mazur is training his lens on fellow photographers who traffic in the high-stakes game of capturing images of Hollywood stars as they go about their everyday lives.

Mazur, a Rolling Stone magazine staffer who has shot bands including U2 and Bon Jovi and also is the co-founder of photo agency WireImage, makes his directorial debut with "$ellebrity," which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.

He spoke to Reuters about the documentary, the rise of the paparazzi in Hollywood and how the nature of fame has changed.

Q: You chose a subject you were familiar with for your first outing as a filmmaker. What point did you want to get across?

A: "I wanted to create a roundtable discussion about our culture's obsession with celebrity. We wanted to give the audience a behind-the-scenes look at celebrity gossip, tabloids and fame. We go from the moment a photograph is taken all the way through to the billion-dollar industry that produces the images you see on the glossy magazines."

Q: You used your relationship with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Salma Hayek and Sarah Jessica Parker to appear in the film. Did you have specific topics in mind for each of them?

A: "I wanted to talk about children issues with Sarah Jessica Parker because I knew what she went through every day, leaving her house to bring her son to school. Her kid shouldn't be exposed to (the paparazzi frenzy). That's a big issue for me as a father and a parent. I don't care if you're a celebrity, the child should not be photographed. I also wanted to talk to Salma Hayek because she lives in France, and you can't photograph children in France. And Jennifer Aniston is constantly in the tabloids, so I wanted to talk to her."

Q: Do you think legitimate photographers like yourself are seen more negatively because of the antics of paparazzi?   Continued...