17 October 2011
Celebrities And The "Rape" Of Photography
The Awl reported
Johnny Depp took his reputation for eccentricity a little too far last week. Interviewed in the November issue of Vanity Fair, the actor appeared to let his guard down when discussing photo shoots with writer Nick Tosches, a long-time friend and a godparent to one of Depp’s kids. “Well, you just feel like you’re being raped somehow,” the actor said. “Raped. The whole thing. It feels like a kind of weird—just weird, man. Weird. Like you meet people and they say, 'Can I have a picture with you!' And that's great. That's fine. That's not a problem. But whenever you have a photo shoot or something like that, it’s like—you just feel dumb. It’s just so stupid.”
Depp isn’t the first actor who’s had to apologize for comparing photography to sexual assault. Just last year, Kristen Stewart told Elle UK that seeing photos taken of her by the paparazzi felt like "looking at someone being raped." It's an extreme reaction to the medium, and one that Susan Sontag addressed in her seminal On Photography, in which she argued that, while images can be violated, the people on whom those images are based cannot. "One can't possess reality, one can possess images," she wrote. But in Hollywood, a world where image is everything, how do you tell where reality ends and image begins?
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