In these photographs, Bardot is pictured in St. Tropez. The once-sleepy French fishing village is where she spent most of her time when she was not shooting, preferring it over popular nearby Monte Carlo. St. Tropez would not remain quiet for long however and Bardot is often credited with putting St. Tropez on the map for the international glitterati.
The shots here are taken with a telephoto lens and the subjects appear to be unaware of being photographed. This style of photograph marks a departure away from the more intimate and candid early paparazzi shots, in which photographer and subjects shared the same territory. Gone is the collusion and the game of cat and mouse of the early street photographers. The new generation of paparazzi photographer was much more akin to the realm of surveillance photography than street photography.
There are two possible reasons for this shift. Firstly, in the wake of John Lennon’s death, celebrity security was heavily tightened, and access to celebrities severely curtailed. Secondly, the creation of the role of publicist put new limits on what could and could not be published.
As a result, in these images, content rules over form. Little attention is paid to framing or composition, the main focus being on capturing the target. These images mark the end of an era and usher in the type of paparazzi image we are more familiar with today.