It's practically a civic duty in the age of #Ferguson, #Gezi, #Occupy and more.
And that's why officialdom's war on photography is so urgent. From Dan Gillmor's Guardian editorial:
It's a sad comment on the state of law enforcement, but I now encourage people who see the police doing something that seems out of the ordinary to document it with pictures or video and save it (if not post it online). I say that reluctantly, because law enforcement is not, per se, our enemy: "To protect and serve" is deeply honorable motto, and communities are vastly better off where it is followed in good faith. But law enforcement today too often violates the civil liberties of those they are sworn to protect, and the increasing militarization of American law enforcement (an offshoot of the Wars on (Some) Drugs and Terror) is poisoning the trust of many citizens. (For others, particularly in minority communities who have borne the brunt of the "broken windows" model, that trust died long ago.).
Video and pictures are an equalizer: they're not the only ones, and most of the power remains with the state, but they can be essential tools to help restore some balance in a system that, in recent years, has tilted in favor of those who interpret "protect and serve" as license to act with impunity. Among other uses, documentation and dissemination is helping professional and citizen journalists alike bring more clarity to events like those in Ferguson, via "crowd-powered" coverage.
The response of some in American law enforcement to the increasing prevelance of cameras has been to conduct a flagrantly unconstitutional "war on photography" aimed, in so many cases, at preventing citizens from holding them accountable for their actions.
Ferguson's citizen journalists revealed the value of an undeniable video [Dan Gillmor/The Guardian]
(Image: Police videographer, City Hall, Occupy Wall Street, NYC, NY, USA.jpg, Cory Doctorow, CC-BY-SA)