from Box Brownie to iPhone

Om Malik makes an interesting observation in relation to smartphone photography. Smartphones are the new version of Kodak’s old film based box brownie for the type of photography that is about people and the creation of their own narratives. 

Baum Rd, iPhone 6

Malik quotes Dr. Michael Pritchard, President of the U.K-based Royal Photographic Society, who says that:

“The Brownie was transformative because it allowed people to take photographs, get decent results most of the time and then share those photographs through the family album, in a way it was much quicker and simpler to do without having any technical knowledge.” 

Likewise the iPhone today. Neither the Box Brownie nor the iPhone was necessarily built for the sake of disrupting the art of image taking. The Brownie was built to sell film. The iPhone’s camera was built, improved, and advertised to sell the phone. But Apple quickly realized that photography, as something that connected with humans at an emotional level, was a key app for the iPhone. Despite the small sensor and very small lenses that insight has paid off handsomely.

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