Digital Witnesses: The Cell Phone Project


“Digital Witnesses: The Cell Phone Project” began years ago, arising out of frustration. In the early 2000s, I had recently started photographing concerts, and would get irritated whenever an audience member would interrupt one of my shots by extending their camera phone overheard. In the early days, the camera phone would make a brief appearance, usually held blindly in the air in an attempt to capture anything at all that was happening on stage.

When the prevalence and sophistication of in-phone cameras grew, my annoyance with their presence shifted to fascination. As someone routinely tasked with distilling a live music experience into a single image, I became curious as to how the average audience member does the same. While most fans will tell you that they take photos or video to remember the show they are witnessing in real time, does the insertion of an object between themselves and the performer create a barrier between the fan and the experience? In capturing what they capture, I seek to understand how fans experience live music and present the experience for discussion among other fans.

-Candice Eley