Slate published this story about the explosion of “first-person” witnessing, thanks to camera phones. As the article puts it: this innovation has allowed us to capture the “best of things,” “the worst of things,” and “everything.”
Like any other technology, camera phones can be abused. But its power to capture fleeting moments is undeniable. At the same time, it is also the meanest invention that can break people’s hearts since it can easily invade privacy. Video clips captured by today’s camera phone-totting crowd have varied from the mundane to the extraordinary. Remember, how the video clip of Saddam Hussein’s hanging taken by one of witnesses using his phone camera sparked controversy worldwide? The camera phone and the power it wields reminds me of an adage repeated in Spiderman, The Movie: “With power comes great responsibility.”
Of late, camera phones have become wonderful tools for journalists like me. We don’t have to be a rocket scientist to take videos now. All we need is a steady arm, nice timing, and a good sense of what makes a good, no, a compelling video.
As Slate’s Michael Agger writes:
So, before we move on to the next racist comedian or cocaine-snorting supermodel, let’s put the Saddam video in context. It is a weird echo of the Zapruder film, another piece of amateur footage that caught the death of a leader. The differences are stark, of course. Zapruder captured Kennedy while standing openly in the Dallas sunlight. The official who videoed Saddam did so furtively, pointing his camera to the ground at times. But they both testify to the power of first-person witnessing, and how a digital copy of that witnessing can upend neat narratives and certainties. We’ll see the best of things, we’ll see the worst of things, we’ll see everything.
See this interesting video clip about the French “street kissers.”