The Top Camera Phone Images that Made the News

It’s not easy to sell camera phone photos. The quality is usually low and the prices are often lower. Even Scoopt’s 10 biggest hits seem to have been largely shot on digital cameras rather than camera phones. But that doesn’t mean that if you do happen to be in the right place at the right time, you won’t get coverage.

Here are eight amateur shots that hit the headlines.

The London Underground Attacks

Photography: Adam Stacey | Source: Alfie’s Blog

The London terrorist attacks of July 7, 2005 were a breakthrough for citizen journalism, with camera phones snapping the first minutes after the attacks. This photo shot on the London Underground was named by Time Magazine as one of the best images from 2005.

Cocaine Kate

Source: Daily Mirror

Who says images have to be high quality to sell? Well, we do… unless they’re of supermodels in miniskirts snorting cocaine. In that case, they can be as bad as you like, make the front pages of a British tabloid and according to the Daily Mail sell for around $300,000.

The Subway Cellphone Pervert

Source: Reiter’s Camera Phone Report

It’s not easy to be a flasher these days. According to a story in the New York Daily News in May 2005, one “subway pervert” was caught after exposing himself to two schoolgirls on the F train. One of the girls managed to capture his image on her cell phone and show it to a police officer who made the arrest.

Sleeping Boothy


Not to be outdone by the Daily News, The New York Post ran this picture in 2006 of subway agent Kevin Wilson asleep on the job on the R line. It wasn’t a picture that changed the world but it might have affected one man’s career prospects.

Banksy in the Act

Source: BBC

Top-selling “guerilla” artist Banksy, whose admirers include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, would probably have kept his identity secret for longer if it weren’t for camera phones. This shot of him turning a double-yellow line into a flowery mural was captured recently by an anonymous passer-by and made the press.

Harry the Nazi

Source: BBC

The problem with cell phones is that everyone knows when you go to a party and do something stupid. That’s particularly true if you’re third in line to the British throne and go dressed as the Third Reich in Africa. This shot of Prince Harry in 2005 made the front pages.

Saddam’s Execution

Photography: farshad5475

Some scenes might have been best left unseen. The smuggling of a camera phone into Saddam Hussein’s execution created images that were seen around the world.

The Kennedy Assassination

Picture credits: Christie’s Images Ltd 2007

Okay, not strictly speaking a camera phone image, but a still from the Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination, 22 November 1963 to remind us that citizen journalism isn’t all that new.

[tags] cameraphone photos [/tags]

3 comments for this post.

  1. digga Said:

    some good photo's there. i remember when all that happened, less the Kennedy assassination.

  2. Milander Said:

    A good, modern mobile (especially a european one) can have a camera on board at least as good as one you would have bought seperatly 5 years ago or less. It is not unusual to see mobile phones with on-board cameras offering 5Mpixels and up these days. Considering all these photos were taken 2 or 3 years ago imagine what is available now!

    Nice post though, I missed the Kennedy one by 10 years though 🙁

  3. Marius Said:

    Look at where ALL pictures are taken with mobile phones. Good for comapare different models but you can find also a piece of art there. Enjoy.

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