Following the attacks on the World Trade Center in NY on September 11, 2001, a photo began circulating that allegedly was the last picture ever taken from atop the WTC observation deck by an unassuming tourist. While receiving a picture from his wife, SJSU Tech Guy Steve Sloan asked his readers to “Imagine if folks on the top of the world trade center on 9/11 had such phones.” In the June 06, 2005 post he also stated:
According to a story I read in this morning’s paper those in-phone cameras will soon be as good as regular cameras. What will this mean for news coverage? What will this mean for politics? What will this mean for education? What will this mean for the world?
With the transit bombings in London this past Thursday, July 7, 2005, this possibility became a reality. Those caught in the attacks were able to use camera phones to capture their surroundings, and then upload then to services such as Flickr. In fact, shortly after the attack the Flickr group London Bomb Blasts (now 7/7 Community) was formed so that related pictures could be uploaded. News stations also asked for anyone with camera phone pictures to send them in to their stations. As Professor Dennis Dunleavy points out in his article in the latest Digital Journalist:
Photojournalism history was made last week. For the first time, both The New York Times and the Washington Post ran photos on their front pages made by citizen-journalists with camera phones.
Some, such as Dave Goodman, used the group to send messages to concerned family and friends.
This trend of “Citizen Shutterbugs” will only continue with the release of camera phones such as the Samsung SCH-V770, a 7MP camera phone with a 3x optical zoom that was announced this year at Germany’s CeBIT show.