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Away From Home

Friday, July 08, 2005

Amateur photographers

Interesting story about the rising role of amateur photographers:

Among the more striking photos appearing online after Thursday's coordinated London explosions was one of a double-decker bus, its front intact but its sides and top ripped open. The image, on the BBC's Web site, came not from a staff photographer but from an amateur who happened on the scene with a digital camera.

With inexpensive cameras everywhere, including increasingly in cell phones, we're seeing more searing images than ever of human drama. The chances of getting poignant amateur video, meanwhile, are improving radically.

Following Thursday's morning rush hour blasts on the bus and at three subway stations, amateurs snapped shots before professional journalists could get to the scene.

The BBC posted one reader-contributed image showing subway passengers being led through tunnels and another of smoke filling another photographer's subway car.

It also posted camera phone video including an 18-second clip of a passenger evacuating the subway. The image was dark and jerky but gave a sense of crisis.

"What you're doing is gathering material you never could have possibly got unless your reporter happened by chance to be caught up in this," said Vicky Taylor, interactivity editor for BBC News' Web sites.

This is a Very Good Thing.


  • I'm cool with this, but I know of dozens of "pro photojournalists" that will throw a fit at the idea of men on the street being allowed to take photographs for news.

    By Blogger Logan C. Adams, at 7/08/2005 05:45:00 PM  

  • If they're really that much better than the amateurs, then there will still be a market for professional photographers.

    By Blogger Scott, at 7/09/2005 08:10:00 PM  

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