As you have probably seen this week, David and Victoria Beckham's son Brooklyn caused some controversy when it was revealed that he had been booked by Burberry to shoot their latest fragrance campaign.
The news divided photographers and fashionistas across the world; some were angry that Brooklyn Beckham has been a photographer for about 6 months and hasn't 'paid his dues' - why should the son of a footballer and a pop star get handed an opportunity that others need to work their whole lives to try and achieve?
But one thing that nobody seems to have noticed is that this isn't a particularly new thing in the fashion industry... after all celebrities have been taking work from models for years now and nobody has batted an eyelid.
Like it or not we live in a world where 'fame' is something of an abstract concept. Fame is no longer gained by what you actually do to earn it... to paraphrase the old adage:
"it's not what you do it's how many people are interested in watching you do it."
People can literally make a living taking scantily clad selfies on social media, others by just playing video games and uploading them to Youtube. You can even find people who are able attract millions of followers by doing nothing other than showing off online how rich they are which, in an bizarrely ironic twist, earns them even more money.
In the modelling industry we've watched as people such as reality TV stars and fashion bloggers have increasingly taken modelling campaigns off actual models for years now. It's surprising that it's taken photographers to get shunted out the way for a celeb to make people actually take notice - then again there is a general belief that models don't actually do anything except stand there and look pretty. Never mind the years and years of training, portfolio building, travelling to castings and general hard work that goes into becoming a working model... or to put it another way 'paying their dues' in order to secure a career as a model.
At Sapphires we have a great list of clients. We regularly work with brands such as Topshop, River Island, Net-a-Porter and ASOS and have found that these clients are intelligent enough to understand that z-list celebs will never replace strong working models and an efficient agency. But we're certainly not immune to what's happening in the world and just like everyone else we realise that a while placed Tweet or Instagram post is worth it's weight in gold.
The world is a different place, modelling agencies adapted to the change so maybe it's time everyone else did too. With the internet being such an integral part of all our lives almost everyone in business is now operating in a global marketplace. Brand building is more important than it's ever been before - as this whole situation shows whether it's a self employed photographer or one of the world's biggest fashion houses, the reach of your brand is more important than ever.
In fact I guarantee that if any one of these complaining photographers had a chance to photograph Brooklyn Beckham as opposed to a male model they would jump at the chance - they aren't naive and they know that a photo of a celeb will help their own brand. I'm not sure why Burberry are under any obligation to think differently; after all live streaming their campaign to Brooklyn's six million followers is a PR masterstroke.