"This is Brother Leader speaking….you have been evicted…I mean…RELEASED!"
This week saw Darryn Lyons, an ‘award winning’ photographer, who a lot of us in the industry know (it is impossible not to….) on a business or personal level, enter the Celebrity Big Brother house, the showbiz Mecca of the Channel 5 reality show. Darryn had clearly decided it was time to raise his Mr. Paparazzi profile to a new level to now actually becoming a celebrity himself. Instead of standing on the other side of the velvet rope, he has chosen to be interred for weeks on end with the good, the tabloid and the ugly. Whether he wins the competition in the end or if he is evicted next week, it will be good for business, no doubt about that. His.
A whole world away from the daily tasks & routines of the Big Brother house, we have all seen what has been going on in Libya for the last few months. Events culminated this week with breakthrough in Tripoli by the rebels attempting to oust Colonel Gaddafi from power, who captured the tyrant’s fortified compound within the city. Great news. Personally, I have been watching some incredible footage on Sky News, often aghast, trying to work out how the guys filming it are focusing their cameras, let alone pointing them at the danger areas, as bullets rain down on them.
One of the brave photographers sent from the UK to cover the progress of the rebels was Paul Hackett of Reuters, who a lot of us know on a business or personal level. He was released yesterday, having spent the last five days at gunpoint as a hostage within the Rixos Hotel in the city with a large group of other foreign journalists. This was great news, as the spread with the majority of his photographs in the Daily Mail shows! Paul had clearly not decided to raise his own profile and I would have imagined, given his predicament, would have preferred to have been standing behind any velvet rope, in any weather, photographing any conveyor belt of Z-listers. Well maybe not….but you know where I’m coming from……
In the world of press photography and especially on Fleet Street, you are called upon to photograph events that are of a news or of a celebrity nature. You could quite easily spend a day photographing the riots in London for example, then to be sent to photograph a film premiere (or Big Brother evictions…*coughs*) or a book launch the next. More often than not, the two genres sit together, given the general public’s demand for showbiz stories and photographs, that celebrity events have become the actual leading news story. But now come to think of it, a riot at a booksigning would be a refreshing change from the “Can you please actually hold the book up and look interested……?” yawn-a-thon, that we are often subjected to. But I digress…..
On two continents this week the news and celebrity genres could not have been more intertwined with their front page value, with photography or more to the point, photographers, as their conduit. We had one photographer protected from bullets by kevlar body armour and helmet, fearing execution by the increasingly jumpy pro-Gaddafi snipers roaming the claustrophobic corridors, whilst he tried to live on the rations left over in the now deserted hotel kitchens….and one photographer protected by a bizarre looking newly purchased body armour and self-styled helmet of his own, fearing eviction by the increasingly jumpy pro-Jedward supporters roaming the claustrophobic Diary Room, whilst he tries to live on what Pamela Bach-Hasselhoff has been attempting to cook from the diminishing rations in the otherwise deserted kitchen.
God only knows how Paul Hackett would have survived in the Celebrity Big Brother house……