“One more for the lady photographer!” Hollering at celebrities on red carpets is nothing new to New York writer and photographer Nadja Sayej, who puts her top 100 best photos of stars in this new photo book, Paparazzi Bitch. It’s truly a testament to women photographers everywhere, elbowing their way to the front of the line.
Paparazzi Bitch is Sayej’s new photo book featuring over 100 celebrity photographs shot over the past 10 years. From Berlin to New York and Venice, this book is a celebration of celebrities shot from the female gaze. Meaning that it’s a testament to having sharp elbows in a male-dominated field. But also, when do you ever hear about a female paparazzo?
“I’m not a paparazzi, but I do use the art of spontaneity, high flash and action shots to capture celebs with my Nikon,” says Sayej, a culture journalist, writer and photographer based in New York City. She spent 7 years living in Berlin, shooting and writing for VICE, The Guardian and Vanity Fair London and brings a touch of Berlin rawness to the photos, as well. Many of the photos are quick and dirty, and captured with a grainy lens, from a camera she bought in Berlin.
Sayej, who started out as a party and nightlife photographer in Berlin in 2010, features black-and-white photographs of Lady Gaga, Catherine Deneuve, Spike Lee, Karl Lagerfeld, Tilda Swinton, as well as Oliver Stone, Willem Dafoe, Keith Richards, Brooke Shields, Karlie Kloss, Laura Dern, David Lynch, and more. It’s all about travelling to get “the shot” at some of the world’s biggest cultural events, from the Venice Film Festival to art biennales globally, New York Film Festival, and countless galas.
It’s hot off the heels of the 100-year anniversary of the red carpet, as the film Robin Hood had its film premiere at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles on October 18, 1922. Looking back 100 years later, what has changed on the red carpet?
Some of Sayej’s photos are very classic in their rendition, capturing celebrities in their most genuine moments. Other shots are backstage, or behind the scenes, capturing pensive moments. While others, like her shot of Sarah Jessica Parker, are of people in transit, arriving or departing a destination, often, a gala or film festival.
This photo book is a behind-the-scenes look at actors, art stars and fashion luminaries, up close and personal (or as close as she can get, dodging every iPhone in sight). It’s a backstage pass into the lives who dominate our everyday headlines, up close and personal—or at least, captured candidly, and with soul.
“This photo book pays tribute to the legacy of women photographers who have been working in entertainment photography all their lives,” she said.
“Besides the big names, we know in the entertainment business, a lot of women photographers are underpaid, overlooked and brushed aside, even though they are incredibly talented and need to believe in themselves more, to step up and stand out like a brash paparazzi photographer–even if they aren’t one.”
About the Author
Nadja Sayej is a New York-based writer, journalist and photographer who has interviewed over 1,000 celebrities, from Salma Hayek to Susan Sarandon and David Lynch. As a culture journalist in the game for 15+ years, she has covered celebrity news, music, film, TV and more for publications like The New York Times, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, VICE and VOGUE, from a critical pop culture lens, while tapping into the bigger picture.
She is the author of books like Red Carpet Ho, stories from the red carpet as a woman photographer, and The Celebrity Interview Book. Paparazzi Bitch is her sixth book, and her first photo book was released in the 100th year of the first-ever film premiere red carpet (it was for Robin Hood at the Egyptian Theater in 1922). She always has hilarious commentary, and unforgettable anecdotes from A-list celebrities, from Robert de Niro to Heidi Klum, all captured in poppy, entertaining detail.
Author website: nadjasayej.com