The revelation in a recent New York Times story that a trusted civil rights insider and photographer, Ernest Withers, had been an FBI informant stings while reminding us how much we want to trust perceived insiders. Like Sabrina Harman and the other soldiers at Abu Graib who snapped digital photos and videos to "show what's going on" with the prison conditions that initially shocked them in late 2003, they trusted their friends and they trusted photography. They ended up with prison sentences and dishonorable discharges and left a case study of how photographs could incriminate the watcher rather than the watched. Errol Morris's film, Standard Operating Procedure (2008), puts forth his Interrotron interviews with Harman and others to examine the complexity of perceptions and digital photography and the electronic distribution of digital photography. These examples play into the surveillance model, the deeply engrained notion that some entity is watching everything we do be it parents, teachers, peers or the boss.
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