When I got my first camera phone, I scoffed at the notion. Pshaw. Sooooo not a camera. Technically, I understood that it was a camera, but I wasn’t willing to accept these images were contributing to the world of photography. That was for “real” cameras. Years went by. I got my first smartphone, and began using the camera function a little bit more than previously. I, like so many others, became part of the shift in the world of photography.
Today, it seems everyone and their mother, even grandmother and dogs, has a camera phone that enables relatively good quality pictures to be shared across social networks instantly. Because these phones are constantly carried, almost any moment can be captured at any time by someone. That makes millions and millions of people photographers who weren’t before.
Some, or even many, would say this increasing number of ‘photographers’ is a bad thing, a movement that is threatening mainstream digital photography and the earnings of occupational photographers. Let’s choose to focus on the positive though.
Yes, there have never been more people taking pictures. According to dpreview.com, the Apple iPhone is currently the most popular ‘camera’ on Flickr.com. Breaking news, life-changing moments, and crimes in action are being captured and shared worldwide. A baby’s birth, heartfelt tears, joyful reunions, a blooming flower, winter’s first snowflakes, a sky painted at sunset, and leaves dancing in the rain are all captured and shared instantly on social media. We constantly get to see beauty shared by camera phones. No, I’m not talking about selfies! With an increasing number of apps, camera phone images can be edited and enhanced with a few clicks, making both the photos and the devices even more appealing and cheaper than traditional cameras.
We can resist all we want, but camera phones are changing the world of photography. Everyone can be an instant photographer, capturing life’s happy, life-altering moments, tragedy and mayhem, and all the beauty in between. Instead of labeling these prolific devices and their images as threatening or polluting, let’s just think of them as bringing us a new form of photography! Now, where’s my phone?