Unless you have been living under the sea for the last couple of weeks, you will have heard, and perhaps seen, the photographs of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, taken while she was on holiday, and in various states of undress, including topless. The photographs have been published in magazines in Ireland, Italy and France, but not without repercussions. The Irish newspaper has apparently been shut down and a French court has ordered the French paper to hand over all images, and take them down from the internet.
The future Queen of England’s flash of flesh comes only a few weeks after her brother-in-law, Prince Edward, was photographed naked in a hotel room in Las Vegas. While Edward’s flash has been supported and even imitated by many, especially in the army, Kate’s pictures have caused lawyers to file lawsuits in multiple countries.
Kate and Edward are not the first, nor will they be the last famous people to be photographed naked. People often will photograph themselves, especially since most cell phones happen to have cameras. From actors to athletes to politicians all seem to fall into the trap of either being photographed without permission, or by their own hand.
Even the former president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, faced a naked problem when photographs of his wife, Carla Bruni, taken when she was a model, resurfaced and showed a lot of her surface. The reason why pictures of famous folk are so popular is, well, because they are famous. There would be very few people who cared if pictures of you naked appeared online.
Who should shoulder the blame for this invasion of privacy that suddenly became very public? Should there be blame or is it the unavoidable facts of life when living in the spotlight of fame?
If there was no demand for the photographs, there wouldn’t be paparazzi hanging around outside popular restaurants or hiding up trees trying to take the golden photo. Paparazzi can make six figures for the right photograph which is enough incentive for most. When Brittany Spears gets out of a car, there are going to be paparazzi taking pictures, both of Brittany’s face, and, hopefully for them, an upskirt shot on the off-chance that Ms Spears forgot to fully dress that morning.
Paparazzi didn’t suddenly become a career over night. Freelance photographers discovered that newspapers, and then websites, would pay good money for an image that will increase readership. The more risqué the image, the higher the payment because it would convert into higher readership numbers. The media organizations feed the paparazzi until simple photographs could no longer suffice the perceived demand of readers. There had to be skin, the famous person had to be falling down drunk, caught in an embrace with someone other than their husband or wife.
As the demand for the golden photograph increases, the every increasing numbers of paparazzi are resorting to new inventive ways to get what they want. Cell phone hacking has been done, from the individual, all the way up to the corporation. Long range camera lenses bring the subject closer to both the photographer, and through them, the readers. There has even been talk of some using Quadrocopters, helicopter-like machines, about the size of a remote control plane, fitted with a remote control camera to take images from above.
Where there is a will, there apparently, is a photographer trying to take a picture of the dead person.