THE MACEDONIAN PAPARAZZO
"Simply at the wrong place in the wrong time", says Nikola Arsov, describing the moment he was in the center of world attention.
The time is 31 August 1997, the place, Paris in France and the moment when English princess Lady Diana died. Nikola from Skopje, who is living in France for 4 decennia already, founded himself among the photographers and paparazzo's who were chasing Lady Di's limousine in the streets of Paris, which ended in a tragedy that shocked the world. Arsov was one of them who ended in jail after the accident.
"I wasn't one of them who's main task was to chase Lady Di. Simply, i just happen to be in Paris that weekend for my work, when we found out that Diana was coming to Paris. Imediatelly we were alarmed to find out where she would be and what she would do. And that's how it started and ended in a catastrophy" Arsov says. According to him, himself and his colleagues were only jailed in favor for the English. "Nobody had an exclusive picture of the accident, everything what was shot and filmed that night, untill today, still remains at the police. They hold us for 80 hours, like we were terrorists. But i think that was only to calm down the English people, because we, photographers were seen as guilty for the accident. They also wanted us to show up in front of an English court, but no one went, thats how we decided. That's life, of thousands reporters in France, i was the one who ended up in a police van." he explains.
Nikola Arsov, born in Novo Maalo, Skopje, came to France at the age of seven. He finished dentistry school, but he didn't really liked it. Then he ended up in the French news agency, "Sipa", for whom he is working about 20 years now. He reports everything; sport, politics, lifestyle and in the summer he is a typicall paparazzo, in the last years only in the exclusive Saint Tropez, where the rich and famous relax on their holidays. "Every year from 20 June untill 5 September I am in Saint Tropez, I didn't even have the time to swim in the sea once. It's interesting, when the summer begins, all paparazzo's are travelling to Saint Tropez. The competition is huge and there is a war going on for that one exclusive shot." "We organize everything by ourselves. You always have to be at the same spot, that means you have to eat in the best restaurants and most exclusive hotels, because that is where the stars are."
The biggest money, he made on taking pictures of the Spanish prince, Felipe. He says that one of his photographs earned him 40.000 euro's. "That happened at the time of the Winter Olympics of 2006 in Torino. They called me that the prince Felipe and his wife Leticia were attending a training of the Spanish Olympic delegation, i went there early in the morning. When I got there I saw no one of my colleagues, so I took some intimate shot's of the prince and his wife. Afterwards I sold them for 40.000 euro's to some Spanish newspapers. "Besides of my monthly payment, i also get 10% of all my sold pictures. That's the market, the one who offers the most, get's the pictures. I do know that the English pay the most. They, really, don't give a damn about money, o la la" Says Arsov, adding a bit of French.
Arsov remembers his good friendship with the deceased Macedonian president, Boris Trajkovski. "After one of his visits to Paris, Trajkovski demanded to meet with me. I thought; Who am I? alongside Jacques Chirac, to meet with the president? When we got to meet eachother, he walked upon me and started to hug and kiss me. He was a very good man with an interesting personality. We continued to meet eachother everytime he was visiting France."
Nikola also gave him some tips how to deal with the Macedonian paparazzo's. "Once he said to me; 'In Macedonia paparazzo's are getting popular too. They make pictures of me on holidays, tell me what to do'. I said to him that he should get his own photograph who would go with him to make pictures of him, and give those pictures to the newspapers, as officials." Arsov explains.