Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.
This entry is a bit unusual in that it's a phrase woos won't say it outright in those words, but it does seem to be a popular sentiment to put between the lines. Cameras are wonderful things. They let us record images from a particular moment and allow us to metaphorically return to that time. But to a woo, a camera is more than that. In a lot of fantasy entertainment, it's popular to have mystical creatures and such not show up on camera. In the woo world, it's popular to have the reverse: Magic shows up because of the camera.
It reminds me of a spam message I got a while back for some spray that would allegedly make the user's license plate unreadable on camera. I wondered if it was opaque spray paint, but no: They expected me to believe it was some magic substance that would scatter light for cameras but not for human eyes. Cameras aren't all that special because they work on the same principles as eyes: Light goes in, is focused by a lens, gets flipped over in the process, and the image shines on sensitive receivers. A camera is a mechanical eye. It may rely on different chemicals or on electrical signals than the human eye, but it's the same fundamental process.
If you can fool the eye, you can fool the camera. Cameras are just more reliable overall because they leave harder memories, but they can still be tricked. That's why you've got "orbs," "rods," and camera straps showing up a lot. Those things get significant when you throw in things like shutter speed, focal distance, and lack of binocular depth perception. Organic eyes have their troubles, but so do mechanical cameras, especially since squishy organic eyes often have compensating software behind them we take for granted, constantly adjusting two eyes to get a better look, and cultural software to make shortcuts in interpreting the resulting images. Cameras don't have that mixed blessing.
Another sentiment popular among woos, especially twoofers from what I've seen, is that photographic evidence trumps everything, and that visual interpretation of grainy images is superior to all other forms of evidence, or that unlikely interpretations outweigh gross logical failings of that interpretation.
Cameras are wonderful, but they aren't infallible. Never put blind trust in any one piece of evidence.