Brad Elterman, co-founder of Buzz Foto, thinks paparazzi snaps can be art. "My concept was to use brilliant photographers who had a passion for their craft… I wanted more than to build a new photo agency, I wanted to build a brand… with a semblance of class." In an interview with Rachel Hulin on A Photography Blog, he talks about how he got started as a "paparazzi," at age 19, back in 1975: "I wanted to take photos of David Bowie and I was turned down by the publicist. I thought to myself that it would be fun to try and make a photo of him as he left the studio." Elterman waited all night for Bowie. "Around 6am he emerged with [his producer]. He left in a unwashed Mercedes."Elterman snapped the two getting into the car, and the pic ended up on a full page in Creem magazine. Elterman, who's photographed stars like Bob Dylan, Joan Jett, and Matt Dillon (see some here) says, "Photographers today just do not know what it is like to make a photograph of a real icon. The stars who the magazines run today are totally boring to me." Elterman continues:

"I came from a family of art collectors and I have always been active in the arts. It dawned on me one day that if you knew your craft was a photographer, you could make a beautiful iconic photograph that would be published in the magazines and could eventually hang in a gallery or at MoMA in New York. There is nothing different from what were are doing today compared with the work of Walker Evans or Helen Levitt. The concept of Paparazzi As An Art Form has been accepted, and we did our first gallery exhibition early this year at the Seyhoun Gallery on Melrose Ave. The response from the public and the media was overwhelming."

Although we don't use Buzz Foto, we often come across "paparazzi" images that are like artwork, with echoes of Hopper, Lichtenstein (yesterday's Snap of Kate Moss), Seurat, Kubrick, and others, including Ms. Levitt (see Naomi Watts, below). We've compiled some of these arty Snap Judgments into a gallery, here:

Brad Elterman: Elevating Paparazzi To An Artform [Mediabistro] Brad Elterman: Then and Now [A Photography Blog] Brad Related: "Paparazzi As An Art Form" exhibit information Earlier: Lindsay & Sam: Got Any Fries To Go With Those Shakes? A Scene From Sam Ronson's REM Cycle Saint Angelina, Brad & The Twins Hit Cannes Mary Kate Olsen Gives Chauffeured Shade Don't Rain On Serena & Dan's (Art) Parade Madonna: The Material Girl Is In Her Element Seth Rogen Makes Naomi Watts Want To Hurl House Elf Seen Sneaking Into Posh Hotel Jennifer Garner Updates Famous Seurat Painting For Paparazzi Chelsea Clinton At Starbucks: We Have Soooooo Been There Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes: The Visual Metaphors Say It All Redskins Cheerleader Arrives In Iraq, Promptly Tosses Hair Kate Moss: Between A Rocker & A Drag Queen

Brad and Angelina photo above via Henry Flores/