Camera phones record fatal shooting of Oscar Grant

The availability of camera phones has made everyone a photographer and a movie producer. Now, we have a device that is with us 24/7, that can record just about anything. Sometimes, they record things we wish we couldn’t see with our own eyes.

On New Year’s eve in Oakland, 4 men were arrested by BART transit officers. BART officers are basically like CityRail officers in Sydney, Australia. Oscar Grant was one of the men that was put up against a wall and was sitting down. He has his hands up and is then forced to the ground, face first. One of the officers puts a knee against his head. Another officer jumps on top, pulls out his gun and then shoots him in the back.

Check out the footage below, in its raw form (there’s a long comment at 0.11 seconds).

That is just incredible footage of a man who was wrongly shot. He was not struggling, he was co-operating with the police and then he was shot for no apparent reason. There’s also another angle which has emerged from another girl who also shot it with her camera phone. I have no words to describe this, other than shocking. if you watch the officer he actually put his hands on his head as if thinking “What have I done?”.

The family is now suing for wrongful death and the BART officer in question has resigned.

I came across this incident via Flickr. I subscribe to the Flickr blog which highlights interesting photos. In the aftermath of the shooting, there was a memorial service and a protest against police brutality (sidenote: BART officers are not police officers). The protest then turned into a riot ala the Rodney King beatings which happened like 2 decades ago, and this was captured by a Flickr user who has uploaded the photos.

A colleague of mine suggested using the search engine Mahalo, so I thought I would give it a whirl. It gives you blended search results with a mixture of wikipedia style facts, video, and results from google, yahoo, live, flickr and youtube. One of the video’s I came across was a personal account of the riots, which show how dangerous it was and also the frustration of the youths at the end.

The availability of camera phones, the internet, the various platforms from flickr, youtube, and google, have made news so much more viral. It also allows us to see things from a different perspective. Without camera phones, we would not have visual evidence of what happened, other than the oral accounts of eye witnesses. User generated content now plays an important role in the dissemination of news items and to provide greater depth, angles, and storylines which we previously never had.

The camera phone recordings will also be crucial in the legal proceedings in finding justice for the family and perhaps to prevent incidents like this occurring in the future.

I’m out like the riots in Oakland,

Matthew Ho.


The lengths some people go to take photos

The lengths some people go to take photos

The last couple of posts have been mostly focused on google innovations / online social media. I thought I’d mention something a bit different. Bumped into a friend of friend, Aaron on the train and we started talking about photography and SLR cameras. Just talking to him for the second time inspired me to think about photography and investing in a decent camera. Currently I’ve got a Sony cybershot 6.0 which set me back about $440 + (including the memory card) which I bought last year.

But I’ve recently been checking out photos of my friend’s on Flickr and other people. I love the pics where the pictures in the foreground are clear and the ones in the background are blurry – which I’ve been told is the “SLR effect”. SLR means “Single Lens Reflex“. The advantage of SLR’s is that you can change the focus and the lenses (i.e. put on a new lens). That’s how people can get the wide angle shots and those mad shots you see in magazines.

The thing I dont like about SLR’s is that they are clunky and heavy to carry. Its harder to blend in when your travelling or want to take pics without being noticed. What some people do, is carry both  – an SLR and a point N shoot camera. Some also carry video cameras too! So they dont miss a single second.

I’ve been checking out this Flickr of Tim Rudder and also Andrew Cato’s blog, who did my mates wedding on the weekend. Some inspiring stuff. I’m going to have to look into these cameras as they dont come cheap and maybe some photography lessons. I might start off with a basic camera and go from there.

When I was travelling, I took so many pics and I’ve posted my best ones on Flickr, so check’em out here.

Also, I’m going to Clickaholics on Thursday @ Watershed – its an industry cocktail event for those in online. Check it:

With 710 people attending the last Sydney event, Clickaholics is the major calendar event for all in Digital Marketing. This even is shaping up to be even bigger with 1,200+ people RSVP’ed already on facebook. We have built our events to this level by following the simple formula of offering an evening where the industry can seriously network in a relaxed, fun environment.

I’m out like point n shoot cameras,