Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Big Picture,Big Fail.

New York photographer Bill Cunningham
Bill Ranken (Katie Preston Toepfer)
One of the regular gripes of the Shuttle is today's new breed of 'publicists',  PRs or whatever they are called these days.  Usually coming armed with a degree from somewhere.  Apart from a few notable exceptions they can be arrogant, grand and basically clueless about the job they do.

All three contributors to the Shuttle have worked in the media and with publicists in New York, London, LA, Paris, Melbourne or Sydney with about 100 years of experience between us.
Without a doubt, Sydney has the grandest PRs of them all.
We've inter-acted with publicists in London and New York who handle some of the biggest names in the movie business and some of the most successful products and brand names in the world. They are on the whole professional. polite, knowledgeable about their product and the business and most especially, the media. In Melbourne or Adelaide they will be far better mannered.

Hand in hand with this lot come a few photo agencies who have corrupted the entire process, stacking press shoots, promotional functions, movie premieres and so on with part-time aggressive , arrogant photographers armed with digital cameras and with nil interest in the subject. It's all about money.

A perfect example of how today's publicists really fail on the job is when one of Australia's most senior and most respected photographers and Shuttle contributor Bill Ranken telephoned both Myer and David Jones about their recent Spring/Summer fashion parades.
You would think that Ranken representing the local newspaper Latte Life that circulates throughout the well heeled suburbs of Sydney's Eastern suburbs, to the most wealthy streets and residents in this country, to readers with wallets stacked with cash and credit cards to spend on fashion, would be welcomed to join the ranks of the scruffs in the media pen. Alas, he was 'too late' according to a PR operative.
Darryn Lyons

At 83 years of age there is  a very good reason for having Ranken cover your event. Like Bill Cunningham in New York. he knows everybody and their mother (and often dated their grandmother). It's an important factor. Meanwhile the Shuttle was there and noted 2 photo agencies had at least 8 snappers between them in a sort of scatter gun approach of garnering photographs of today's instant 'celebrities' from every conceivable angle. We've searched high and low and not one single picture they took has been published. One newspaper photographer, a regular on the scene, walked off in disgust as he was asked time and time again the name of each person he snapped, by the paparazzi.

When the Big Picture agency burst on the scene over a decade ago, the cockatoo haired owner Darryn Lyons acted like he was about to re-create tabloid publishing as we know it. Perhaps he was right.
The Daily Telegraph recently ran this piece Revealed: How truth and lies mingle in Lara Bingle's nude photo scandal, reality was something different.
In April  London's Telegraph newspaper revealed how Big Picture had been paying a Virgin Airlines employee to supply flight details of the travel movements of stars.

Now the UK Press Gazette says the agency is having trouble paying staff and photographers.