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Paparazzi stake out in Aspen

Charles Agar
pitkin county correspondent

ASPEN”Members of paparazzi are in Aspen again, and they’re willing to pull out all

the stops to get that juicy shot.

Some photographers have been handing out business cards to locals and

tourists, and offer cash rewards for celebrity tips and information.

But it’s not all grins and giggles on the streets of Aspen.

On Monday as the shutter-bugs waited for super-model Heidi Klum to depart

the Amen Ward shop at Galena Street and Hyman Avenue, one photographer got

into an argument with a construction worker. Aspen police officers arrived

to make the peace, but no arrests were made. A day earlier, members of the

paparazzi were thrown out of Bumps Restaurant at Buttermilk after a

complaint was made to local authorities.

Still, Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said their presence is not a major

issue for the cops.

“I don’t have the impression that it’s such a big problem here,” Aspen

Police Chief Richard Pryor said.

Said police detective Chris Womack: “The paparazzi have the right to take a

picture as long as they’re not breaking any laws. If they become aggressive

or harassing to the public, we might have to step in.”

But when it comes to getting their picture taken, paparazzi want no part of

it.

One photographer, who would not give his name, said his face “is my

business,” adding that going incognito is essential to flying under the

radar and getting celebrity photos ” pictures that fetch a high price from

magazines and websites.

But Aspen has long been a place where gliterati can come to escape it all.

“Most celebrities here get away with being unnoticed,” said Nicolette Human,

manager of the Boogie’s retail outlet.

Amen Wardy, the owner of the shop bearing his name, agreed.

“They love coming here because it’s not like Beverly Hills,” he said.

Klum recently shopped at Boogie’s without any paparazzi in tow, Human said.

And A-listers such as Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn have eaten at the

diner upstairs without incident, Human said.

Boogie’s employees enforce a strict policy forbidding cameras, as much to

keep competitors from photographing merchandise and displays, but also to

keep out the paparazzi, Human said.

“We just don’t let them in the store,” Human said of paparazzi, but

photographers can stand out front on the sidewalk and snap pictures as they

please.

As long as photographers are not creating a disturbance or harassing people,

they are free to shoot pictures in public. And storeowners have the right to

ask them to leave, Pryor said.

Sometimes celebrity security details contact the police department asking

about Aspen, Pryor said. And Aspen officers give advice and help them get “a

better sense of the town.”

But most celebrities in Aspen can avoid the limelight and keep their

activities very low key, Pryor said.

“I like seeing famous people,” said Sara Bruno, who, along with her husband

Perry, was visiting Aspen from their home in Las Vegas. The two were

surprised by the fuss in front of Amen Wardy on Monday.

“They spend all of their life trying to become famous, and once they become

famous they wear dark glasses,” said Perry Bruno, adding that stars who seek

the spotlight should get used to the attention.

cagar@aspentimes.com.


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