The Shutter Sound from Your Cellphone

The Shutter Sound from Your Cellphone

New York Representative Peter King has introduced legislation known as the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act (HR 4.1.4) to require mobile phones with cameras to make a “tone or other sound audible within a reasonable radius of the phone.” The reason? Congress alleges that “children and adolescents have been exploited by photographs taken in
dressing rooms and public places with the use of a camera phone.”

As Ars Technica reported, a recent survey of teens revealed that 20% of respondents had posted an image or video of themselves partially nude or nude on the Internet.

So let me get this straight…

We want to simulate the sound of a shutter in camera cellphones because there are many predators taking photos of the kids in dressing rooms and public places.

Thomas Hawk astutely pointed out that the bill doesn’t cover cameras — only cellphones — so if a predator wanted to skirt the law, he could simply use a point-and-shoot camera.

But let me take it a little further in the analysis. It seems to me that while there are predators who are exploiting the kids with their silent cellphones, the larger problem are the kids who are exploiting themselves with their cellphones (just google sexting). How’s about we just take the cellphones away from the kids so that they can stop texting their friends 14,528 times a month. Why not spend the money that would go to the camera phone manufacturers and cellphone networks and dump it into education about how posting pictures of yourself nude on the Internet isn’t the most prudent thing to do.

I’ve always found the digital shutter sound to be annoying. And court and movie set photographers spend a lot of money for devices that suppress the noise coming from their cameras. Do we really need to enact a law to add more noise to the world?

In the end, Rep. King is probably overreacting. Turns out that the kids aren’t having that much sex, and the crack babies are ok.

Speaking of cellphone cameras, it’s common knowledge that the iconic photo of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson was shot on an iPhone. When I first saw it, my jaw dropped. As much as I bemoan “citizen journalism,” sometimes “being there” can’t be beat.


Photo by Janis Krums

Are the optics the best? No. Is the contrast great? No. But it is pretty damn descriptive of the scene. I should also point out that the AP Director of Photography (and fellow Eddie Adams Workshop Board member), Santiago Lyon, confirmed to PDN’s Daryl Lang that the photographer was paid for the image. How much? I’m not sure, but it certainly shows that citizen photojournalism doesn’t need to be free, and that large news organizations don’t need to do full rights grabs (hello CNN, hello NYT).

Now that I’ve praised the Krums photo, I also want to point out my favorite photo from the wire. Frank Franklin II shot one of the Hudson on Saturday, January 17, and I’m fairly certain a profanity came out of my mouth when I saw it.


Photo by Frank Franklin II/AP

I saw Frank about a week earlier at Keith Bedford‘s going away party. So I felt like I had a connection to the scene, which of course, I didn’t. But never mind. I can’t remember the last time the Hudson had ice on it — has to have been at least a decade. And to see the tail of a jet coming out of the ice in an area that was a few blocks from my apartment was just wild.

Lastly, did you ever notice how completely random the Internet can be? I was perusing Jim Goldstein’s blog and he had a mention about a very cool President Obama picture that he had purchased from Lane Hartwell. Then a little further down, he had some morphed photo that he had found of George Bush and Barack Obama.


Hey man, that’s creepy!

Of course, our very own Jeffrey Arnold wouldn’t be outdone, and he found this very funny disturbing photo photoshopped from Pete Souza’s official portrait.

Photo Sort of by Pete Souza/White House

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Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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