For a time many of us believed social media would usher in an ‘Age of Transparency’. Now that citizens could report anything that happened in any part of the world, business and government would be held to account. Some people even suggested the death of the PR industry because – as the wisdom went – you can’t spin the truth. That seems to be an age ago now. Few who welcomed this new age foresaw just how subjective a concept that 'Truth' would be.
What has been undeniable over recent weeks is just how powerful an invention the cell phone camera has become. For the whole of time it has been easy for the majority of the population to dismiss, or overlook the reported mistreatment of minorities. Where the Age of Transparency has delivered in spades is in the reportage of the violent police response to protests in response to police violence. The shocking images, shared instantly are undeniable and cannot be ignored.
Whatever you settle on as the protest symbol of the 20th century, the phone camera has a rightful claim to be the symbol for the 21st. Effective video has always had the power to magnify the experience of the individual to reflect the story of the many. Video’s potency has never been greater. As deep fakes reduce the trustworthiness of the medium in the near future we will look back on this summer of protest as the high water mark for the power of the tool that we as filmmakers treasure so deeply.