Does the camera change the way we behave?

Clip from This American Life (Showtime)

The clip above relates the story of a group of school children who pretend to film a schoolmate being beaten up rather than help him. Sure, young kids will do that sort of thing. But it reminded me of the story of Chinese pothole photographer Liu Tao, tabloid photography in general, and exploitive photo journalism.

Sadly, I think a lot of people today are more likely to take pictures first and help second. Now that cameras are ubiquitous the problem is worse than ever. Is it the camera changing the way people behave or is bad human behavior just finding a new outlet? Probably a little of both.

By John Watson

John Watson is the original founder of Photodoto. If you're interested in what John has been up to, you can browse his personal blog.


  1. Before cameras became ubiquitous, you’d still see people standing around whenever a problem presented itself. Everyone always expects someone else to do something about it.

    If you’re a person who is likely to help a stranger, I don’t think having a camera will change that.

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