The increasing number of rogue celebrity photographers are ‘destroying the industry”.
This was the warning from picture agency Matrix, responding to Prince William threatening legal action after being pursued by photographers.
William and girlfriend Kate Middleton were photographed together coming out of Boujis nightclub on 4 October, but some photographers broke the ‘unwritten rule’and pursued the couple’s car.
The action prompting police involvement and the Prince’s aides to threaten legal action if it happens again.
Trevor Adams, director at Matrix, told Press Gazette that he made it company policy that his photographers do not follow a royal car. ‘Our photographers are photographers – they’re not people that have gone out and bought a camera and seen it as a opportunity to make some money.
‘Unfortunately, there are lots of them now and it’s made it really difficult for the real photographers. Now anyone can buy a camera and get away with it because the camera pretty much does the job for you. The inexperienced guys don’t know the guidelines so they will chase, and they’ll try to undercut you on the value of the pictures. It makes what used to be good-value pictures worth very little. It’s destroying the industry.”
Pictures of the couple in the back of their car, taken by Matrix snapper Alessandro Coetti, appeared in The Sun on Saturday and the Evening Standard. According to Adams they were set to appear in all the papers until the complaint was issued on Friday afternoon.
The images taken by Coetti were taken while the car was stationary, and according to Adams adhered to the PCC code of conduct. It was after that shot was taken that problems occurred.
According to one photographer, who asked not to be named, the car with the couple aboard went the wrong way down the road and had to turn around. This allowed waiting photographers to have another chance to take more pictures.
Some photographers decided to see if the couple were going to another nightclub and began a pursuit. When the car stopped at traffic lights, one photographer went up close and began snapping away, causing the car to speed off and the police to get involved.
The photographer said: ‘There’s an unwritten code of things you do and don’t do. For most of us, you don’t follow royals – ever. We were all quite surprised by the incident. You can’t do that, especially with what is going on with Diana. As it is, our name isn’t exactly rosy in the public eye, so doing things like that is only asking for trouble. They are spoiling it for the industry.”
The unidentified photographer who approached the moving car has not been seen ‘out’since. None of the photographs taken at the traffic lights appeared in any of the newspapers, but a source told Press Gazette that they had been shown to picture desks.
The Sun made it clear in its article on Saturday that the images used were taken before the car had started moving. Earlier this year News International said that it would only use pictures of Middleton taken by in-house or agency photographers who adhered to the PCC code of Practice. A News International spokesperson said that this still stood.