Londoner's Diary

Above: An example of the Evening Standard's events-and-social pages. Uncredited photographer.

Londoner's Diary

At being prevailed upon (with a servile nod from the Evening Standard's events-and-social photographer), their stock response to the glinting camera-eye proffered, is to turn arrogantly, condescendingly, pretentiously, towards the little circle of polished glass. Photographing smug tossers (most of whom are not actually notable), out at a drinks reception, has to be the most disagreeable job in professional photography (Royals photographer excepted).

The receptions-and-events photographer's presence functions to boost and indulge the egos of his braying subjects, but his primary role is more insidious and noxious. His published photos reinforce a hideous social convention: the lazy and entrenched presumption that in any given large city there must be a wealthy, successful elite. And that this elite is basically to be celebrated and revered. Participating in photographing these exhibitionists (in all their glibness) only consolidates and normalizes a convention that humiliates and demeans the ordinary working person.

The true paparazzo photographer, by contrast, has force: the force of being reviled; of being an unwelcome prying nuisance. The value of the paparazzo is that he does not fawn: he exposes self-absorption, vanity and smirking entitlement. And generally he despises and scorns his privileged subjects.

(27 April 2018)