Us Weekly

Celebs who won't let you take their picture are bad; non-celebs who demand you do are worse.

Maybe that's why the plebes do not take well to being turned down. When I was out at Cain with Zelda Kaplan, the 90-year-old club kid, I was trying to capture her ordering a drink at the bar when two thuggy types demanded I take their picture. When I turned them down, their menacing response was to play with my hair. "People who will go out of the way to grab you are not the people you want to have photos of," Tamindzic says. "They are not interesting, and they aren't going to be famous."

Sometimes clubbers simply take matters in their own hands and insert themselves in the frame. Or they do what one drag-queen did to me at Rated X Saturday night—after assessing the result on my camera, she made me take another shot. Snap.

"(MisShapes DJ) Geordon and I have a saying," Meriam says. "'Just shoot everyone.'"

Merlin Bronques, now famous for photographing people who aren't
photo: Tricia Romano
Merlin Bronques, now famous for photographing people who aren't

As for actual celebs, even local luminaries like Carlos D and Nick Zinner are notoriously finicky when approached with a camera. Even though they are public people, in New York they're also just a face in the crowd at an East Village bar. Sometimes it's easier to ask rather than shoot, and it's always nicer. "I don't like stealing pictures," Bronques told me at Rated X, where there were at least three of us shutterbugs for the Halloween party. "I ask. I'd rather get a good, clear shot. I've only been denied twice, once by Keanu Reeves."

For me, one denial stands out. The much photographed ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha once requested I delete a photo I had just taken. "I'm so tired of being on blogs," he said—and watched as I erased his picture from my camera forever.


flylife@villagevoice.com.

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