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World Photography Day 2018: The decisive impact of smartphones on how we capture photos

In the last 10 years, photography has turned from an activity limited to a niche crowd to almost anyone who has a mobile phone in their pockets.

  • Published: August 19, 2018 11:24 AM IST

Every year, August 19 is observed as World Photography Day. A day which is meant to celebrate photography, and its power to inspire positive change in communities across the world. Well, at least that is what the official World Photo Day website tells you in the ‘About’ section. According to the description, this day is meant to bring “millions of photographers” together from across the world so people can connect, and then invest back in their local and the global community.

Australia-based photographer, and self-described explorer and adventurer Korske Ara, the mind behind ‘World Photo Day’ points out that he believes that the art of photography has the power to inspire generations, tell stories, and “create positive impact in the world”. However, if I look back just about 10 years back, since then the meaning of photography has changed drastically. These 10 years have turned photography from an activity that was limited to a niche crowd with sufficient resources to a hobby for almost anyone with a mobile phone in their pockets.

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The credit for such democratization of photography goes to researchers and scientists who imagined and tried to push the boundaries of how small a camera sensor can be. It started with smartphone makers such as Sharp who introduced the first phone with a camera module on the back of the J-SH04 to Nokia that took the torch and pushed for innovation. It continues with the current crop of smartphone makers that have continued to push the envelope of innovation. Today we see a variety of smartphone camera implementations that include dual camera setups to the more recent triple and quad camera setups.

This has resulted in a change in how we look at smartphone photography both as a documentation tool to something that empowers people by letting them express and share their thoughts with the world. To celebrate photography and probably look at how much smartphone technology has transformed the landscape, we have selected a few photographs that have been shot using smartphones to see how far we have come.

This image was shot by Photographer Nan Deng on Huawei Mate 10 in the Night mode, and it shows what a smartphone can do in the most challenging of situations.

The black and white image was captured by Michal Leja on his Apple iPhone 6, and he has been doing what seems to be an incredible job in photojournalism-style images.


A post shared by Joshua Sarinana, PhD (@j_sarinana) on

Joshua Sarinana was responsible for this image. Even though it is unclear if he shot it using an iPhone X or iPhone 7 Plus, the image speaks for itself.

This image was taken by Nicolas Xanthos on his iPhone 7 Plus. The image manages to showcase the brilliant amount of dynamic range.

Wings of fire. (shot on the phone) Wouldn’t have been possible without the ever patient @wander_leen holding out the matchsticks for me and making sure I don’t burn my hand, I did a little bit anyway. Worth it I guess? When you’re supposed to be resting at home because you’re sick but your mind doesn’t really switch off. Shot macro images of different things around the home all day on my phone, this is my favourite of the lot. Also please take utmost caution if you do intend to attempt this kinda image. Getting close to fire no matter how small can be dangerous, not just for you, but also your device. Phone began heating up really quickly because of the proximity to the fire on the stove. So take care of that! . . . . . #fire #match #matchstick #gas #stove #home #macro #project #sick #day #everyday #daily #phone #google #madebygoogle #teampixel #Bangalore #smartphonephotography #phoneonly #India #wings #phoenix #stayrouted #caution #flame #burn #orange #glow

A post shared by Auditya Venkatesh (@audiphotography) on

The image was captured by Auditya Venkatesh on his Google Pixel 2. He detailed on his Instagram that he used a macro lens attachment to get this image.

This image was shot by Samuel Nacar on his Apple iPhone 5s. It clearly shows how a smartphone model doesn’t really matter. What matters is what you are shooting with the phone at any particular moment.

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  • Published Date: August 19, 2018 11:24 AM IST

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