The Stalk Market
New York paparazzi on their greatest hits.
By Emma Rosenblum
1. Leigh Green
What was a recent score?
Pink’s wedding in Costa Rica. They had an Israeli security team and they were keeping an eye on us, so the other photographer and I pretended to be gay. We were rubbing suntan lotion on each other’s backs and having a cuddle and stuff, so the security team turned their eyes off us, and we got all the pictures we wanted. Mine made six-figure money. I also went to Anguilla to follow Celine Dion on holiday. One day, she went swimming with dolphins in a pool. I buried myself in this huge mound of rubble across the street. It was really hot in there. I just poked my head over the top every so often and snapped a few shots and then went back down. Every magazine ran those shots, and for that I probably made about $20,000 after the agency took its cut.
Who’s your favorite celebrity?
Britney Spears. Everybody’s made money off her.
Jennifer Aniston. She’s bad. It’s personal, and I really don’t want to say … I just think she’s an asshole.
2. Frank Ross
How long have you been in the business?
I’ve been a paparazzi—I mean celebrity photographer—for over twenty years. I was born and raised in New York, and I’m very street-smart and I know how to get a picture. I go to the supermarkets, restaurants, theaters, and parks frequented by celebrities.
Last year, when Julia Roberts gave her baby pictures to People, she told them, “Nobody will ever get pictures of my children.” But I did! I caught them on the city street, and it took a lot of detective work. I made some nice money off that, but I won’t say how much. I make hundreds and thousands, not hundreds of thousands.
Which celebs don’t sell?
They don’t buy Jude Law much in the States, unless he’s fooling around with the nanny. Sean Penn, you can give him away. John Travolta, Robert Downey Jr., you can give them away, too. Tobey Maguire doesn’t sell. The only time Leo DiCaprio sells is if he’s with Gisele or another girl. He always seems to have the same outfit on anyway.
3. Steve Sands
Gwyneth Paltrow’s baby photo of Apple. That made a lot of money—$500,000 to $750,000. Maybe even a million. She asked me to do it. I e-mailed her, and she said, “I’m going to have my baby. Why don’t you come shoot it?”
Did you pay her for the photo?
Sandra Bullock asked a friend of mine on a movie set, “What did Steve pay Gwyneth for that picture?” and he said, “He didn’t pay her anything.” Sandra said, “Bullshit. No way a celebrity’s going to do something like that without taking any money.” Well, guess what? She was right. But that’s all I’m going to say.
Where do you draw the line?
I don’t break the law, but I’m starting to change my ethics about this: I’m really tired of celebrities saying, “Oh, no, no pictures of the baby!” And you listen, and then two weeks later, WireImage [a photo agency] gets the exclusive. I’m not going to listen anymore.
Larry Schwartzwald loves to talk like he’s making millions, but it’s always inflated. He’s still the most aggressive son of a bitch out there.
4. Lawrence Schwartzwald
Any injuries on the job?
I had to have wrist surgery after I was hit by bodyguards for Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. A car door slammed into my face and split my lip when I was chasing Madonna.
How did you get into this?
July 1993 was my first published photo—a weather picture in the Times. A few weeks later, I had a picture of Marisa Tomei in the Post.
The day after Lindsay Lohan’s father was arrested for drunk driving, she was shopping on Madison Avenue. There were other photographers, and they were trying to block me from getting a shot. She walked out and stopped to wink and smile. I asked her to do it again, and I shot with a long lens off the shoulders of the other guys. I knew I had it and she was going to do it one more time, so I said, “No, don’t!” She didn’t. It ran in People and Us, and Fox bought it for the movie poster for Just My Luck. I made mid–five figures on that deal.
Where’s Tom Cruise’s baby?
Some lucky fool’s going to bump into them and make $4 million.