Paparazzi for a day |

Paparazzi for a day

“Ugh. I hate doing this crap,” was the thought that kept crossing my mind.Lurking in shadows, hiding in bushes and behind newspaper racks, using long lenses and being sneaky is not how I like to take photographs. Playing paparazzi got on my nerves.Aspen Times reporter Charlie Agar and I spent a recent day administering a test on just how honest the people of Aspen really are. I liked the idea of this story, but it forced me to do the one thing I swore I’d never do: Be a paparazzo (one paparazzo, two paparazzi). We placed a wallet on the ground and photographed people who picked it up. When they turned it in, we interviewed them.While in the bushes at the post office, I was approached several times by people who asked what famous person is around. Smiling, I replied, “no one I know of. It’s a sociological experiment.” After a quick explanation of my purpose, they laughed and told me to have a good day.While waiting for my photographic prey at the Gondola Plaza, I actually sat next to a group from Michigan. As they put on their ski boots, one of them asked me who the big star was in town. When I explained what I was doing, they chuckled and left for the slopes. Mostly I received curious stares and shaking heads.Further into the assignment, I was crouched in the back of reporter Charlie’s car in the City Market parking lot with a long lens focused on the faraway wallet. I could hear the snide remarks through the closed hatch. “Look at him, how rude,” one woman said, glaring as she passed by.”What’s he doing?””Damn paparazzi.”Oh well, they don’t know so I’ll forgive them. The Cooper Avenue Mall was the last place we picked. I sat at the fire pit in full view with my feet up; at this point I was tired of lurking in the shadows. I decided to shoot from a distance and not worry about it. So I sat back and cradled the lens on my knees. I may have been “lurking,” but at least I was comfortable.I was glad when this wallet assignment was over. The next day, back in my normal routine, I was relieved to photograph people in my favorite way – up close and personal, like a newsman.

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