"The Assignment With Iann Robinson: Paparazzi" airs Monday at 2:30 p.m. ET and Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
The word "paparazzi" usually elicits one of two reactions, either A) disgust or B) hatred. It doesn't get much better than that for the men and women who bring us celebrities at their worst.
As I got started in my investigation into who the paparazzi are and how this culture of celebrity America has become feeds its needs, I learned a few things about the trade and, best of all, myself.
First thing I learned was where the term "paparazzi" came from. Apparently it was the brainchild of genius director Federico Fellini, who created the name for these photographers who would literally chase celebrities down for a candid photo. The term "paparazzi" itself is Italian for "annoying insects" — and the term has stuck. Second thing I learned was the difference between a "celebrity photographer" and a "paparazzi," which I never really believed there was. I always thought the paparazzi photographers just invented "celebrity photographer" to not feel so much like parasites living off of other people's private moments or tragedy. Not true — the difference between the two is vast. Between "The Matrix Reloaded" premiere, the MTV Movie Awards, stalking Britney Spears and flying a helicopter over Keanu Reeves' house, I learned what the true difference is. All those adventures are in the show "The Assignment With Iann Robinson: Paparazzi," and if I do say so myself, it's pretty crazy stuff.
I traveled from the streets of NYC to the flashy hip sections of California to figure out my newest assignment. I spent time with Kevin Mazur and Mario Anzuoni, two celebrity photographers who taught me how they work, and what they feel is the right way to go about photographing a celebrity.
I also went into the belly of the beast with Russell Turiak and Peter Brandt, two notorious paparazzi photographers, and we spent some time stalking celebrities, bothering one at lunch and even getting yelled at by a "Sex and the City" star. All of it was pretty surreal and changed my way of thinking on the whole subject. I started out not caring — I figured celebrities are rich, it's not a big deal, how bad could it be? Well, I learned a thing or two about how bad it could be and how weird and uncomfortable stalking a celebrity can be. I also got to have a little face time with Britney Spears, considered an A-List celebrity for the paparazzi, and got her insight on dealing with the whole thing. All this insanity plus I walked a red carpet for the first time in my life, which was scary as hell.
If you've ever wondered about paparazzi or you like looking in magazines like Us and People or even if it gives you a little thrill to see celebrities doing normal things or maybe looking not-their-best, you should check out "The Assignment With Iann Robinson: Paparazzi." It's a funny, roller-coaster adventure into the world of the paparazzi and the celebrities they stalk.