14 March 2008

Citizen Paps Are 'New Prospectors'

The market for amateur snaps of well-known figures resembles a modern-day gold rush, says an industry insider.

Freelance photographer Brian Ach says so-called citizen paparazzi can now be found at most events, jostling for space alongside the professionals in the hope of making money.

He told the Wall Street Journal: “It becomes difficult when there are marked spots for traditional agencies at an event, and somebody with a little point-and-shoot shows up and says, ‘Well, I’m with so-and-so website.’”

According to the WSJ, the industry is being fuelled by growing numbers of gossip and showbiz news websites which pay for photos submitted by the public.

In addition, picture agencies such as Buzz Foto and Scoopt which encourage and buy user-generated content have also reportedly swelled the ranks of citizen photographers hunting their big payday.

Ach noted: “People hear about the videos of Britney crying somewhere getting $30,000. It’s kind of like the gold rush.”

While the head of British-based agency Mr Paparazzi attributes the growth in citizen paps to the fact that the public has a clear advantage in comparison to the professionals.

Darren Lyons said: “The public has greater access and better access than the official media at these times.”

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