Paparazzi go for the floppy bits

A Word of warning to Italian celebrities: if you go down to the beach this summer, you'd better go in disguise. Or at least keep your clothes on. Because otherwise the paparazzi might just make a picnic out of you.

Business leaders in the buff, senior politicians making unseemly sexual gestures, ageing starlets showing their wrinkles and flab off camera - this year the gossip-mongering photographers have been more shameless than ever. To kick off the silly season, the cover of this week's issue of Panorama, purportedly a serious news magazine, featured a colour picture of Gianni Agnelli, erstwhile chairman of Fiat, jumping off his yacht as he'd never been seen before by the public, genitals flapping in the sea breeze.

Inside was a shot of the northern secessionist leader, Umberto Bossi, thrusting his hand between the legs of a female admirer while splashing around in the water.

The more overtly downmarket gossip magazines, meanwhile, have been having a field day trying to make people whose living depends on looking good look as atrocious as possible. Mara Venier, busty hostess of Italian television's most popular Sunday variety show, is caught without the fine clothes and make-up that usually make her seem 15 years younger than she is; the bulges and blemishes are all too visible as she lies back for a facial.

Where once there were unwritten rules of paparazzo etiquette, it seems now there are no limits. In the 1950s and 1960s, when the term paparazzo was coined on the Via Veneto, the gilded Roman playground of Hollywood stars and glamorous local playboys, it was considered a coup to snap a celebrity walking into a nightclub. A few years ago, scandal erupted as serious newspapers published a photograph of the prominent television newsreader, Lilli Gruber, lying topless on a beach. But that seems tame stuff by present standards.

Naked women have long since been considered passe; after all, most of the country's celebrity models are only too happy to take off their clothes in the course of their duties. A couple of years back, the fad was for naked men. A reasonably good-looking centre-right politician, Pierferdinando Casini, was snapped revealing all as he pulled away his swimming towel. Now, gratuitous denigration is the name of the game.

Panorama went so far as to compile a "hit parade" of the paparazzi's dream photos this summer. Top of the list were the naked breasts of either Ilda Bocassini or Tiziana Parenti - a magistrate and a former magistrate- turned-politician from Milan who have spent the past two months trashing each other's reputation in the mainstream newspapers.

It would be wrong to think the older generation of paparazzi disapproves of the new techniques.

"First I shoot, and only if I'm caught do I ask for permission," said Rino Barillari, the man who inspired the term paparazzo with his intrusions into the dolce vita of 40 years ago. "By that stage I've already taken out the film and hidden it."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
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 General

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions