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Who actually cares?

Becker says, “instead of cleanly edited photo essays, the tabloids are more likely to present heavily worked layouts of overlapping headlines, photographs and text.” This is a photo of a section of People Magazine where it is obvious that the photos are taken without the people in them knowing. The text is there to glorify the images when in fact they are photos of celebrities doing ordinary things. Victoria Beckham is simply grocery shopping with her daughter while her husband David is kicking the soccer ball around while his son and Rod Stewart observe. The magazine uses text such as “demonstrates his skills” to enhance the meaning and attractiveness of the image.




Tabloids along with Reality Television often create stories out of nothing like this – it’s this kind of insane way to generate an entire profitable industry out of minutiae. The visuals here are clearly arranged to do just that and the captions provides just enough context to steer our brains to create whole little vignettes out of the lives of the Beckhams. Now, how come there’s no K-Stew on this page?


I like when you say the text enhances the meaning and attractiveness of the image. I used to be obsessed with these types of magazines, especially when I was like 13 and they were called J-14 and Bop and featured images of NSYNC members and Britney Spears. I just HAD to know what they were doing all the time. With an image like this I see Beckham playing with his kid and that small text “demonstrating his skills” gives me insight into their lives and how his relationship with his kids are, he actually cares about his family? Then I would proceed to stare at the picture for 5 more minutes imaging how the rest of their day went. All because of that one silly image. Then, hopefully, onto an image of K-stew and R-patz “working things out.”

Joel Skelton

I’ve always wondered about that law that disallows videos and pictures being taken of people who don’t sign some piece of paper or another. Does this also apply to celebrities? Being famous doesn’t automatically render that law null and void, does it? I can’t imagine being famous and having weirdos stalk me all the time, making stupid stories about when I kiss a girl or eat a hamburger. Celebrities are just like the rest of us–except they have talent recognized by Hollywood. I hate their over-glorification by both people and the media.


There are two main factors in play.

First, that law doesn’t really exist. It varies some from state to state, but the Supreme Court has consistently found that you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in public places. If you’re at the park, for example, anyone can take your picture without your consent. Anywhere you do have that expectation of privacy — in a locker room, in your home (even if you’re standing in front of a window), et cetera — a photographer requires your consent to take your picture. It’s also important to note that while someone can take your picture in public without consent, they still need your permission to use it for commercial purposes.

Second, yes, there is a lower standard applied to celebrities. This is because in legal terms celebrities are not private citizens; they’re public figures. To enable news, commentary, criticism, and so on, photographers can take pictures of public figures and sell the resultant images without their consent. There’s some necessity to this law; no politician would ever approve the publication of a photo that painted them in an unsympathetic light, which could severely undermine the press’ ability to report accurate news.

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