The newspaper booth at the Women’s Expo had a full schedule of “celebrities” greeting people at the booth. I will agree that everyone connected to UT basketball and football is a celebrity in Knoxville. The others are newspaper professionals whose names are familiar. I’m not sure that qualifies as celebrity.
Critics are really just the go-to guys for free publicity. It is very cool that they get to talk to actors and actresses, but they are delusional if they think the people who are only using them to feed their giant egos are their friends. While paparazzi have already changed the way celebrities stay in the spotlight, I would like to dream of a day when people will stop encouraging the celebri-stalkers. The future of free publicity is the Internet. Fans are going to replace critics. Everyone with a blog already sings the praises of their favorite television shows. Movies reviews are on everyone’s blog. Firefly was just a television show that most people missed until fans campaigned it into a movie and unexpected dvd sales. Critics are not celebrities. “For a critic that first step is the first printed joke. It gets a laugh and a whole new world opens up. He makes another joke, and another. And then one day along comes a joke that shouldn’t be made because the show he’s reviewing is a good show. But, as it so happens, it’s a good joke. And you know what? The joke wins.”
Newspaper photographers should be considered artists and historians, not celebrities. When I pulled out my cell phone to snap a blurry shot of the newspaper professionals talking shop, Miles Carey made the first of the two serious faces* he made that day. “Why don’t you use a real camera?” I answered it the way people say “fine” when asked how they are doing. “It’s at home.” The truth is that my camera no longer takes indoor pictures. He didn’t need to hear that. I also didn’t tell him how much I wanted to drool over the camera he never removed from its’ case. I certainly didn’t mean to insult him with my tacky little cell phone camera. It will never be a threat to what he does. The young photographer with the very expensive digital camera and heavy lens might be, but that’s because he is capable of being an equal to Mr.Carey after he gains more experience. Mr. Carey teased the young photographer for his “paparazzi” equipment. The future of the press is in digital photography. Mr. Carey’s real cameras are artists’ tools and are already respected and valued for their quality. Mr. Carey doesn’t have an artist’s temperament though. He is the kind of person you want at every family gathering and party. Charming, funny and entertaining, he’s better than a celebrity. â€œPhotography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.â€
*The second serious face was when I answered the “do you subscribe to the paper” question with an honest answer.