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January 24, 2013

Mr Paparazzi is back: Darryn Lyons to launch new online celebrity photo agency

By Andrew Pugh

Self-styled 'Mr Paparazzi' Darryn Lyons is planning to launch a new online photo agency after buying back the assets of his former company Big Pictures.

Describing the new venture as a celebrity stock photographic agency, Lyons said it will charge users to access an “enormous archive” of 25 million images.

“It may be used by a basic blogger at home for $40, to [the] biggest publisher, possibly $20,000…” he told Australian magazine The Weekly Review.

“Photographers can upload and see their sales almost instantaneously. It’s a different price-point from Big Pictures.

“Big Pictures was charging anywhere between $250,000 to $1 million a picture.”

Shortly after Big Pictures went into administration in October 2012 Lyons bought back the assets – including its picture archive – via a new company called BPGG Limited for £164,000.

“I didn’t see the future in the current dinosaur that was Big Pictures,” he told the Review in an interview earlier this month. He continued:

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I decided I’d kind of had enough. The global financial crisis had hit the business hard; I needed to restructure (it) …

The changes in the business, from privacy (laws) to GFC (global financial crisis) to dealing with a lot of people in the industry – it wasn’t me.

There was a scourge in the industry, an underbelly of the industry which didn’t appeal to me.

I changed my perspective in what I felt was ethical. It’s like any business. You always get your bad eggs. The whole industry needed – and has had – a major shake-up. I got very depressed that the celebrities used their images when it was right for them and then the next minute they’d sue you …

Lyons went on to boast of his wealth but insisted it was “immaterial”:

“My dream was to be a millionaire by the time I was 30,” he says. “I’ve made plenty and lost plenty. My life’s a roller-coaster whether I like it or not. I can be as successful in my own heart and mind with 20 cents as I can with tens of millions. Money buys you nice things, but I’ll be honest with you, it becomes extremely immaterial after a while.

My dad’s the absolute opposite of me in relation to material things. He drives around in his Nissan that I think has done 425,000 kilometres, and he loves his car, more than I love my Ferrari or my Lamborghini or my Range Rover.

Don’t get me wrong, I like having them. I don’t look at them as motor cars, particularly the two sports cars. I look at them as works of art. I’m a really arty person as you can see by the house. Whether it’s photography, whether it’s Warhol or beautiful pieces of art, I’m a great collector. I love collecting things that are special.

He later described himself as a “huge gambler” before admitting that over the last few years he had “lost a lot”, adding: “but I’m also totally convinced that I’ll have the biggest business in the world again.”

According to The Guardian, Big Pictures entered voluntary liquidation earlier this month owing more than £82,000 to photographers and other pictures agencies.

In evidence to the Leveson Inquiry last year Lyons said the agency handled 3,500 showbiz pictures a day from 152 freelance or paparazzi photographers around the world, as well as 29 full-time members of staff.



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