We live in an age where cell phones are no longer considered a luxury so much as an absolute necessity - everybody has one. Smartphones, in particular, are so deeply integrated into our society, that it is no wonder people obsess over the newest iPhone or Galaxy phone. While decades ago the most one could hope for from a cell phone was receiving or making a call on the go, today, smartphones have so many functions - they practically do it all. Calling, texting, accessing the internet, and even downloading different apps for anything you can think of, are only a few feature the average smartphone has today. However, despite all these new features, one of the most used functions of smartphones today remains the camera.
It used to be that portable cameras were kind of uncommon. Even when digital cameras were the ideal portable camera, people rarely went everywhere with them, unless they practiced photography as a hobby. In today’s society, however, people take pictures every day. Whether it is for Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, the camera has become a necessity on their smartphone. It is often a deciding factor for what phone to buy, and it is a big reason that phone screens have gotten larger.
Not so long ago, taking pictures of yourself all day was considered excessive and even vain. While this remains true today, snapping pictures of yourself has become something of a norm, to the point that we have actually coined a term for it in popular culture: the ‘selfie’. To better satisfy the average user’s photographic needs and make taking “selfies” more convenient, today, phones even come with two cameras - your normal camera, and a front facing camera. There is even a “selfie stick,” the function of which is to make taking selfies easier. To some, it may seem creepy to “follow” someone on the internet - even stalker-ish. After all, looking at countless pictures of someone, their meals, and other daily activities is somewhat extreme. However, in today’s society, through the acceptance of social media and the accessibility of cameras, documenting your actions in the form of pictures, has become something of an encouraged pastime.
Phones are not the only gadgets that are coming pre-equipped with a camera. If for some reason taking a photo with your iPhone becomes too mainstream, just grab an iPad or any other tablet. Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen that one person at the zoo or at a concert holding their iPad over their head to take pictures or videos.
There is no denying it - phones perform countless functions these days. Despite this, the two most looked for aspects in a new smartphone are battery life and a better camera. The downside to all the features smartphones are equipped with, is that they all revolve around the use of your screen. It is for this reason that people are constantly getting their phone screens repaired. There used to only be places to buy phones. Now there is a place to buy your phone, and countless other places to get your phone fixed.
The smartphone phenomenon is still happening, and it seems to only be growing. The updates are coming out faster every day, and with each new model, the expectations are becoming higher. Apple for instance is now up to the iPhone 6 Plus, with the iPhone 6s coming soon. Some people use their phones so constantly that they have to be reminded to “be in the moment”, rather than trying to record or capture everything through their phones. The sheer number of pictures and videos taken by people on their phones also leads to phone storage being an issue.
Everyone has a really good camera at their fingertips, and with multiple apps, they can instantly share their photos with their friends and strangers alike. Some apps even have built-in filters intended to make your photos look good no matter what. Perhaps, it is because of these reasons that many people might be considered amateur photographers - to which professional photographers are surely upset. Consider an article from The Guardian titled “The death of photography: are camera phones destroying an art form?” After all, it is hard to find a person who doesn’t take pictures on a daily basis.
In only about a decade, portable cameras have gone from being seen as unnecessary and silly to being a part of everyday life. Most people use their cameras daily, whether it is to take a selfie or capture their latest Starbucks purchase. And why wouldn’t they? After all, your phone is inches away from your hand at all times. Just about everywhere you go, you see someone capturing the moment with their smartphone. In a world where everyone wants to be famous and taking selfies has become the norm, it’s hard to imagine that a few years ago cellphones weren't even equipped with cameras, and capturing the moment meant living in it. Think about that next time you post a picture of you and your cat on Instagram.