The Hollywood photographer often gets a bad wrap in fiction and in real life. Since the beginning of Hollywood, photographers have played a key part of the whole machine, since images are key to the motion picture industry. The photographer takes headshots, publicity photos, and creates the illusion of glitz and glamour that everyone believes is Hollywood. Then there are the others Hollywood photographers, the paparazzi, the crime scene photographers, that often capture the ugly , dark side of the city that the machine doesn’t necessarily want you to see, but there is no bad publicity, right?
In the novel, “Palm Avenue,”photographers appear throughout the book. There are the paparazzi that hang outside of Kraven, (the fictional nightclub) like vultures waiting for the occasional celebrities to arrive or exit the club. Then, there are the photographers at the premiers and Golden Globe Awards, who capture all of the red carpet hype. Most importantly, in the novel is the photographer, Cliff Cooper, who shoots Ashley’s first headshots in Los Angeles.
Jobs for the Hollywood Photographer
- Publicity photos
Crime scene photographer
In the book, Cooper was a much sought after fashion photographer in the 80’s, but his career is now in the toilet – he has resorted to preying on newcomers and beginning actors doing headshot packages. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but many of these headshot photographers are sleazy. They prey on people’s hopes and dreams and sell inflated headshot and video packages to people, who clearly have no chance. Other photographers prey on naïve young actors sexually. Cliff Cooper, who has a drug problem, and is morally bankrupt and jaded, does all of that.
Ashley, like many young women, gets intoxicated by the camera and the attention of a slick Hollywood photographer. After taking a a few hits of potent medical marijuana, mixed with champagne, she readily sheds her clothes and inhibitions. Naked photos are like a savings account for Cliff Cooper, and he knows that as soon as the actor signs the release form, they lose all legal rights. Newcomers like Ashley from Colby, Kansas, often don’t know what legal documents like release forms represent, so they blindly sign them.
A passage from the novel relays what Cliff Cooper thinks about Ashley: “She had to be one of the most desirable girls he had ever seen or photographed in his life. He would hang onto the nude pictures and cash in on them later. They were like money in the bank, and he couldn’t believe how easy it was to get her to do them.”
Hey, things aren’t easy for the Hollywood photographer, especially now, when anybody with a smart phone or digital camera calls themselves a “:photographer”. Of course, many Hollywood photographers have drifted completely to the dark side, and there are many stories where photographers have abducted and murdered naïve young actors and dumped them in the mountains and desert outside of Los Angeles. That is where the other Hollywood photographer, the crime scene photographer comes in.