Slideshow April 2008

The Celebrity Hunters

David Samuels, the author of "Shooting Britney" in the April Atlantic, interviews Brandy and François-Regis Navarre of X17, Hollywood's biggest paparazzi agency, about a selection of recent celebrity photographs taken by X17's photographers on the streets of Los Angeles
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Britney Spears—in a Medical Building Parking Garage on her way to a Beverly Hills Doctor's Office

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Brandy: "This is one of those shots where you just put it on the blog and let the commenters take care of it. Britney is going to a doctor’s office in a medical building in Beverly Hills. With all these rumors that she might be pregnant. She was with her father. She has a small camera in her hand. People have crazy ideas about why – like she wanted to take a picture of the sonogram. You can see that she is literally busting out of her shirt, which might be a sign she is pregnant. You can see her double chins.

"We are pretty sure she’s not pregnant. We think it’s a psychological visit. She is being pumped full of drugs and that can affect her weight. I’m sure Regis kept at least 50 of these shots. You can easily keep 50 shots because she is always doing something in frame. Right now the fans are really divided about her father stepping in and taking control."

Regis: “It’s not the dream of the paparazzi to father a child with a star. I think on the contrary, that most paparazzi are shy guys and don't have self-confidence. Adnan Ghalib came by accident to the business. He met a girl in the post-office three years ago and did what he did with Britney. He flirted with her, and met the dad of the girl, and became friends with the dad, and helped him to fix the house. And the dad considered him as his son. And it happened that guy was part of the paparazzi. He told Adnan, ‘I see you, you are struggling, why don't you get a camera, and I will introduce you to some of my friends at the Fame agency.’ And the first one he was covering was Britney Spears. And he started to go after Britney right away. Trying to talk to her and so on and so on.

"Adnan has a big ego and big self-confidence. But the dream of the paparazzi is to hit the jackpot with one great shot and that’s it."

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David Samuels is a regular contributor to The Atlantic.

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