Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Visual Revolution

Five Ways the Cell Phone Camera Has Changed the Way We Live
By Jeff Balke

5. Search by photos.

... Functions like Google Goggles which allow you to point your camera phone at, for example, the Statue of Liberty, and have it return all sorts of information about it as well as Google's "search by photo" function which will seek out any identical or similar photos to one you upload and solving the mystery photo problem for everyone.

4. Sharing our photos with others.

... The dreaded family slide show is a thing of legend as were the litany of children and pet photos filling wallets and purses. Fortunately, with photo sharing websites like Flickr, apps like Instagram and photo galleries on Facebook, your friends can look through your photos at their leisure instead of yours...

CameraPhone from Justin Hackworth on Vimeo.

3. Turning amateurs into pros, pros into amateurs.

I'll be the first to admit that I was always rather queazy about the use of filtered images. First, there were just the dreary self-portraits taken with old school film cameras that seemed to proliferate on Flickr and Polaroids of naked girls covered in chocolate that passed for art. Then, there was Hipstamatic and Instagram, the apps that turn your digital images into dirty-looking shots that appear as if they were birthed from a Holga found in someone's grandmother's attic. But, the filters are used less as the fad has faded and more and more people are using these apps to take really fantastic photos and treat them creatively. And pros are using these toy apps to expand upon their artistic repertoire. In truth, these are the same kind of creative tools pros used to use in darkrooms. They are just more easily accessible and that's a good thing.

2. Documenting our daily lives.

This might be the most fascinating aspect of having a camera in one's possession every day is the ability to document everything that happens. Sometimes, it can be inane and ridiculous, but in the hands of someone with an idea or creative spark, it can turn into something fascinating....

1. Citizen journalism.

The first photos of US Airways flight 1549 that crash landed in the Hudson came from people with cell phones on a passing ferry, not from CNN or Reuters or some local news helicopter. While the beating of Rodney King may have been caught using a digital video camera, dozens of other photos and videos of violence -- some fascinating and poignant, others ridiculous and pointless -- litter the web and inform us of things we wouldn't see otherwise. As badly as the credibility of journalism has been damaged by biased news networks, self-promoting blogs and just plain bad reporting, everyday people are proving that a picture does say a thousand words and giving all of us an opportunity to shed light on the truth.


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