Today was a significant day in our professional and personal lives.
As some of you know, my background includes bodypainting, creative arts and education.
I've been a passionate photographer for over a decade, however today I was recognised as a professional photographer by both the mainstream news media in Australia and in the U.S.
The subject at hand was the relationship between photographers and paparazzi, celebrities, agents and other news media entities.
I was joined in the Channel Seven 'The Morning Show' studio with my agent and very good friend, Greg Tingle, plus Hollywood media expert and correspondent, Tomm Taylor. Hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies conducted the interview in forum style, and I was impressed how they covered the case in a fair and balanced capacity. I could tell how not only Greg but also Kylie was quite concerned for me, as I had decided to go public about getting roughed up at various press events including the Hall Pass red carpet that took place at Fox Studios - The Entertainment Quarter, just yesterday.
As various people have told me, "just another day in the office", but it shouldn't be that way. It's just wrong. Physical and verbal assault in the workplace should not be tolerated. It's not in most other industries. Granted, there's quite a few cowboys in the pro photography business including right here in Sydney, Australia, and I don't plan on being a "cowgirl", even if we do sometimes get treated like cattle at events.
The trigger point to the broadcast discussion was the recent altercation that Catherine Zeta Jones and husband Michael Douglas suffered at the hands of the paparazzi while visiting London.
It reminded of an incident that happened quite a months back when the photographers crossed the line and disrespected me. I'm also familiar with some of the unsavory and unethical "art of war" tactics that some photographers use to try to get bad shots of celebrities. They sometimes swear at them and even use obscene body language gestures towards them. Sometimes I may suggest to some celebrities that they do something interesting on the red carpet (like kiss), which is a loving thing to share. I go out of my way to try to capture beautiful, warm and complimentary photographs. Sure, sometimes an Aussiewood or Hollywood goddess might wear a partly see-through dress or low cut top, with a good eyeful of cleavage, but that's their business. "Upskirts" are a no go zone, as are swearing, pushing, shoving and punching.
Back to the Zeta-Jones - Douglas story at hand... the lovely couple were visiting London as guests of the Royal Family and had visited Buckingham Palace earlier in the evening. When returned from the event and they were about to enter the hotel that they were staying in, the paparazzi were taking pictures when all of a sudden it was said that Jones yelled that she had been punched and that she wanted the assistance of the police.
Michael had already entered the hotel lobby but eye witnesses said he came back outside where he confronted the photographer and was ready to fight. The scuffle quickly ended and the parties carried on. For those of you who don't know, the award winning actor has been winning his battle with cancer, and extra stress facilitated by unethical members of the press is the last thing they want or need. It reminded me somewhat of the way the late Princess Diana was treated by the press at times, and who can forget the terrible circumstances in which she died. Yes, some paps chased her and her partner on the road at high speed which increased the level of danger.
I don't preach or suggest that I have all of the solutions to the problem, however, any reasonable person could see that there's room for a ton of improvement as far as ethics and behavior go in and around the pro photography - celebrity spectrum. It appears that the only practical way to find some solutions to the issues are to build photography - press guidelines into law, which would be enforced by the likes of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and law courts of Australia. It's a business where money talks, and clearly proposed regulations will need to have more bite than bark.
I'm pleased to say that I still enjoy photography as much as ever, and I do not want or need special treatment just because I am a women. I just think all people should be treated with respect.
A big thank you to the Channel Seven team for making this possible.
Channel Seven 'The Morning Show': Greg Tingle, Eva Rinaldi and Tomm Taylor
The Morning Show
Michael Douglas (IMDB)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (IMDB)
Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
Media Man Int
Eva Rinaldi Photography