Paparazzi reluctant to have the media focus turned on them

 

One of the UK’s biggest paparazzi agencies has itself become the target of a media frenzy after a week in which a succession of witnesses at the Leveson Inquiry turned the spotlight onto those behind the camera.

Big Pictures, notorious for its employees' dogged pursuit of celebrities, was in a state of lockdown yesterday after being named this week in celebrities' complaints to the inquiry about alleged invasions of their privacy. It may yet see paparazzi asked to contribute to the inquiry on press ethics and practice.

Staff at the agency, which is managed by the self-styled "Mr Paparazzi" Darryn Lyons, pictured, were under instruction not to answer any queries from the press – an unusual position given their normal relationship with the print media. Photographer and agency chairman Mr Lyons is "filming in Australia", a spokeswoman said, and will not be returning to the UK or be available to comment until April.

Harry Potter author J K Rowling told the judicial inquiry how she had taken legal proceedings against Big Pictures after photographs of her walking with her 18-month-old son appeared in three newspapers.

A photograph showing her son's face was published in the Sunday Express, despite assurances from the agency that the picture would not be reproduced after an initial publication in a Scottish newspaper. Big Pictures defended its claim and paid damages only after a Court of Appeal decision ruled in Rowling's favour three years later.

Other celebrities this week gave evidence against paparazzi, complaining of incidents of intrusion which sometimes bordered on physical intimidation. Hugh Grant told how he had to seek an injunction against photographers staking out the house of Tinglan Hong, the mother of his child, and Sienna Miller described being hounded by as many as 15 photographers.

Industry insiders say that demand from the public for celebrity scandal has flooded the streets of London with photographers, crowding the market. Snappers under pressure from their editors, their agencies and also financial imperatives have used more intrusive methods.

Sienna Miller told the inquiry on Thursday: "As a 21-year-old, I was followed down a dark street by 10 to 15 men with cameras. Because they had cameras, it was all apparently legal, but take away the cameras and all you have is a group of men following a woman."

The irony of celebrity witnesses having to pass by photographers outside the Royal Courts of Justice on their way in and out of the inquiry has not been lost on some observers. The inquiry reached an agreement with photographers before witnesses arrived to remain in a "pen" and a spokesman said that they, the press pack, had been very well behaved.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
News
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

Trend Writer / Copywriter

£25 - 30k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Trend Writer / Copywriter: Retail, Design and...

Business Development Manager / Media Sales Exec

£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

Digital Marketing Assistant

£17 - 27k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Digital Marketing Assistant to join ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor