Time Magazine has a disturbing story about people paying faux paparazzi up to $1500 to follow them around town with cameras.
The trend is driven by the twin obsessions with chronicling one’s life and experiencing fame. “We live in a culture where if it’s not documented, it doesn’t exist,” says Josh Gamson, a University of San Francisco professor of sociology who studies culture and mass media. “And if you don’t have people asking who you are, you’re nobody.”
University of Pennsylvania sociologist David Grazian, who wrote On the Make: The Hustle of Urban Nightlife, calls personal paparazzi reality marketers, who make the act of being photographed more meaningful than the actual photos. “The goal isn’t to produce a product,” he says. “It’s to heighten the experience of the event. In that sense, there doesn’t even need to be any film in the camera.”
It’s okay to be grossed out.