After holidaying in Hawaii earlier this year, Rihanna did what many do: put the photographs on Facebook. Unlike most people, however, the pop singer has 54.5 million fans on the site, and the pictures are available to anyone who wants to see them.
The just-published album of beachwear and tastefully topless shots quickly gathered more than 100,000 "likes" on the site. But it wasn't just the public picking them up, the photo-hungry media devoured them, too.
Due to over-controlling publicists, reproducing photo shoots from magazines can be a frustrating exercise, while paparazzi shots come with either ethical issues surrounding invasion of privacy or the look of a set-up. Far better take the non-polished, slightly amateurish shots that are willingly handed over.
Rihanna's post-everything approach favours the young and fresh-faced – and those who don't have to rely on the airbrush. She's not the first. US reality-show contestants such as Adrienne Curry and the preposterously proportioned Coco Austin have helped build their brand by regularly updating their Twitter followers with suggestive shots.
But with Rihanna yesterday making it into this year's Time magazine's 100 most influential people, the rest of the A-list will have to start polishing up their camera skills if they're to compete. Either that or they'll have to start hiring a professional photographer for the holidays.
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