Snippet: Why iPhone is Today’s Kodak Brownie Camera ☇

Shared on January 24, 2021

A wonderful piece by Om Malik:

Photography as we know it has been around for about 150 years, though its origins can be traced to earlier civilizations. But it has never been so visceral, and so much a part of our daily lives, as it is now. In short, the arc of photography’s history is that it has always been about getting more and more people to take photographs. Our desire to know more about ourselves means we must have more of them, more often, in more places, and of many more things. Whether it was new chemicals or new film or new sensors, technological advances in this area have — by and large — been about making it simpler for us to capture the moment. All of it has brought us to today, when we have quietly passed the cultural tipping point where taking a photo is as second nature as breathing. There’s no art to it. It is just something we are always doing.

In many ways, the iPhone reminds me of another groundbreaking camera: the Brownie. Launched at the turn of the last century, the original Brownie was the catalyst of change that helped us record our own history — exactly what those servicemen were doing more than a century later as I labored at my art.

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