All the world’s a stage: Thomas Markle and the art of the celebrity photo

The Guardian | Jim Waterson

Talk to anyone in the industry and one thing quickly becomes apparent: very little in the world of celebrity photography happens by chance. “We’re in a landscape where staged photos are the norm,” says Danny Hayward, who runs a leading picture agency in the UK. He says increasingly strict privacy rulings in UK courts mean publishers are reluctant to take the risk of using a traditional, “snatched” paparazzi shot. “They [staged photos] are safer and there’s no legal comeback or repercussions.” Hayward takes the credit for pioneering staged paparazzi photos during the early 2000s, saying the catalyst was the growth in the number of reality TV stars – such as Jade Goody in the UK – who were famous for simply being themselves, rather than having a TV or new album to promote.

“This was the catalyst that motivated the style of photography where the subject would get paid for a set of pictures that – this is critical – looked candid but were actually staged.” In an ideal world, according to Hayward, such an arrangement gives the celebrity control over how they look, allows them to control their PR, and also provides a handy revenue stream by giving them a percentage of any sale…read more

Image: David Malan/Getty Images