Slate’s top story today dissects the ways that cellphone cameras have changed our collective lives for the better and for the worse—although mostly for the worse. Michael Agger’s piece includes several insightful musings, although I wish a few of them had been drawn out into complete thoughts. Like this intriguing idea:
For one thing, Agger himself notes that most events captured in cell phone pictures (and more often video) are negative. Street assaults, overzealous police officers, celebrities breaking the law. In this way, the cameraphone’s ubiquitousness has the potential to reverse the trend of “editing for happiness” that the introduction of the personal camera invited. And I think the creation of digital cameras has impacted this trend even more. Individual photographs were once precious: labor-intensive and relatively expensive. Now they are an unlimited resource. And that has led people—ordinary people, not just professional journalists whose job it is to record life’s unpleasantness—to take pictures of the sad as well as the happy.