And in the Beginning
My personal iPhone journey started on Thanksgiving of 2008. Waiting eagerly for my other-network contract to expire, I couldn’t wait to browse the web, have visual voice mail, sync calendars and address books, play games and…oh, and it had a camera. I was initially dismissive of the iPhone’s camera. It was low resolution, fixed focus, and had no control at all. You know where this is going. Slowly but surely, I was seduced by the iPhone’s ease and accessibility. The image quality worked its way into my photo- graphic heart. The software (“apps” of course) was inexpensive and incredible (Curves not only in RGB but in CMYK and LAB modes!). Sure enough, I’m now a dedicated iPhone photographer, using it to capture everything from family happenings to pastoral landscapes. An important personal validation came when I sold my first iPhone-produced fine art print in a respected photography gallery. Yes, the iPhone is a real camera capable of making beautiful prints.
Welcoming Yet Another Era in Photography
Late in the 19th Century, George Eastman enchanted Americans with his slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest,” forever changing the previously hassle- prone medium of photography into an inviting pastime for non-technical amateurs. Suddenly, the process of recording memories of family, friends, events, and places was accessible to anyone with a finger and a postage stamp. Americans responded by taking millions of pictures, and George Eastman responded by growing fabulously rich. It was a win-win deal. But in a medium like photography— founded and nurtured on change—you know that isn’t the end of the story.
Decades later Edwin Land shook up the photo world with cameras that produced instant prints right on the spot. His Polaroid cameras (with all their incarnations of camera backs, sizes and films) became photography’s toys, cultural icons, and professionals’ proofing tools nearly simultaneously. Sadly, anyone who drives a web browser knows how ineptly Polaroid managed her segue into digital imaging. It’s not—excuse the pun—a pretty picture.
Firmly embedded in the 21st Century, we’re now entering yet another imaging era, one that further democratizes photography while opening new and exciting creative doors, all in the same instant. Of course we’re talking about cell phone cameras in general, and iPhones in particular. For the first time in history, you find yourself carrying a camera even if you didn’t intend to. Grab your phone as you go out the front door and, yep, you’ve grabbed a camera, too. The camera is just one feature in a device that offers many. Let’s see why that’s important and then talk about how that adds to our photographic lives.