Paparazzi popping up in Aspen
December 19, 2007
ASPEN ” Members of paparazzi are in Aspen again, and they’re willing to pull out all the stops to get that juicy shot.
Some photographers have been handing out business cards to locals and tourists, and offer cash rewards for celebrity tips and information.
But it’s not all grins and giggles on the streets of Aspen.
On Monday as the shutter-bugs waited for supermodel Heidi Klum to depart the Amen Wardy shop at Galena Street and Hyman Avenue, one photographer got into an argument with a construction worker. Aspen police officers arrived to keep the peace, and no arrests were made.
A day earlier, members of the paparazzi were thrown out of Bumps Restaurant at Buttermilk after a complaint was made to local authorities.
Still, Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said their presence is not a major issue for the cops.
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“I don’t have the impression that it’s such a big problem here,” he said.
Said police detective Chris Womack: “The paparazzi have the right to take a picture as long as they’re not breaking any laws. If they become aggressive or harassing to the public, we might have to step in.”
But when it comes to getting their picture taken, paparazzi want no part of it.
One photographer, who would not give his name, said his face “is my business,” adding that going incognito is essential to flying under the radar and getting celebrity photos ” pictures that fetch a high price from magazines and websites.
But Aspen has long been a place where gliterati can come to escape it all.
“Most celebrities here get away with being unnoticed,” said Nicolette Human, manager of the Boogie’s retail outlet.
Amen Wardy, the owner of the shop bearing his name, agreed.
“They love coming here because it’s not like Beverly Hills,” he said.
Klum recently shopped at Boogie’s without any paparazzi in tow, Human said. And A-listers such as Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn have eaten at the diner upstairs without incident, Human said.
Boogie’s employees enforce a strict policy forbidding cameras, as much to keep competitors from photographing merchandise and displays, but also to keep out the paparazzi, Human said.
“We just don’t let them in the store,” Human said of paparazzi, but photographers can stand out front on the sidewalk and snap pictures as they please.
As long as photographers are not creating a disturbance or harassing people, they are free to shoot pictures in public. And store owners have the right to ask them to leave, Pryor said.
Sometimes celebrity security details contact the police department asking about Aspen, Pryor said. And Aspen officers give advice and help them get “a better sense of the town.”
But most celebrities in Aspen can avoid the limelight and keep their activities very low key, Pryor said.
“I like seeing famous people,” said Sara Bruno, who, along with her husband Perry, was visiting Aspen from their home in Las Vegas. The two were surprised by the fuss in front of Amen Wardy on Monday.
“They spend all of their life trying to become famous, and once they become famous they wear dark glasses,” said Perry Bruno, adding that stars who seek the spotlight should get used to the attention.