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Brad Elterman

Candy Magazine

you refer to the easier access you got in those earlier

do you hope to change peoples perceptions with your

days – do you think that the paparazzi digital culture

work? what's your own favourite photograph?

has changed photography for better or worse?

To set the record straight, I have not taken a paparazzi photograph in over twenty five years and I never plan on taking one again. I was in-crowd with many bands and they would pose for me and we were pals. If I could not get a photo session and they were on my radar, I would just show up and try and get a candid photograph that would tell a story. That is what inspired me to wait all night for David Bowie at the recoding studio in 1975 or to make a once in a lifetime photo of John Lennon with Ringo Starr. If I had the tip and could make the photo, I did not care about the repercussions. There were none.   I was so young that all of the PR thought my teenage paparazzi actions were cute.    Today's modern digital camera has given anyone the potential to become a paparazzo. The problem is that many of today's paparazzi are not photographers. They do not have a clue about how the camera works, the depth of field, shutter speeds and of course they have never experienced the joy of shooting black and white film. I have heard stories about L.A. Paparazzi out in the field using cameras with all of the settings taped down by their bosses. Some of them really think that the "P" mode, "Program" as we all know it, is the Paparazzi mode! Today it is all about shooting massive quantities and praying for a decent photograph. Such a waste of time and effort for nothing. For me it was and always will be about capturing a special moment. 

I would hope people will begin to think that paparazzi can be an art form. Certainly it is. My pal and another mentor Ron Galella has just had his work accepted at MoMA in New York. It really helps if you are photographing an icon and in my book, there aren't too many around today. Possibly Lindsay Lohan because she photographs so damn beautifully and her relationship with Samantha Ronson is rather provocative. I always tell our Buzz Foto photographers to be proud of your work and try and make iconic and elegant paparazzi imagery that will not only grace the pages of magazines, but could also wind up in a gallery or museum.    My favorite photograph is "The Party Crashers". The reason being is that these dudes are two weird looking nobodies who would crash all of the best parties in town. Record company parties, the Oscars, Bel Air mansion parties. You name it, they were there and they did not give a shit what anyone thought of them. The tall one on the right was Eddie and his rather short pal with the terrible wig was Gene, who we called "The Midget". I took this photo of them at a Hollywood Hills pool party. They were so delighted that someone wanted to take their photo. Do you think Diane Arbus would have photographed them?  what's happening for you now? is the future about reliving the past?

I am having the time of my life these days! It is fun to relive the past, but you can only do that for so long. For me the future is taking photos again and shooting in B&W film. I just bought a Contaxt T3. I am not going to reinvent myself again at this stage of the game. I want to be unique in today's environment and take photographs again in the same simple fashion that I did thirty years ago. I see that this type of photography is so in vogue these days. Just look at the fashion magazines. This month I have eight pages of my seventies photos in L'Officel magazine in France. Leave it to the French, they are always the first to catch on to cool trends.  Hopefully Gucci or Louis Vuittion will knock on my door one of these days. 

Candy - The Photographic Issue  

Selections and Interviews from, Brad Elterman. Erin Jane Nelson. Rob Hornstra. Simon Hoesberg. Timothy Saccenti. The Rock Archive. Amandine...

Candy - The Photographic Issue  

Selections and Interviews from, Brad Elterman. Erin Jane Nelson. Rob Hornstra. Simon Hoesberg. Timothy Saccenti. The Rock Archive. Amandine...