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Why the Smartphone Changed Photography and Photographers Forever

By Jules Ebe on June 24th 2013


Professional commercial photographer James Bareham is known for his sharp, clean style that has made him a featured name in the business for the last 25 years. With years of experience and access to some of the most impressive equipment on the market, why did he recently state that “the biggest thrill I got from a roll of processed film was the thrill of relief”?

After years of film, and later digital, processing – he had lost the passion to further his personal work – you know, the ones we do for ‘fun’. Personal projects were just not a luxury he could afford. With the time spent in development, and later, post-processing, he could not justify the expense of time and money on images of his own. That is, until the camera phone.

“We are in the midst of a democratization of photography: Your equipment no longer defines you, your photographs do.”


In a recent article for The Verge, Bareham discusses how the smartphone changed photography forever, and how it helped a veteran like himself find a renewed enthusiasm for photography.

Following in the tradition of Kodak and Leica, nearly 100 years ago, the camera phone has brought photography to the masses. “In 1913, the Leica camera enabled photographers to take an entirely new kind of picture, and its success had very little to do with better image quality,” says Bareham, “Ninety-four years later, the iPhone helped kick off another revolution that not only changed the way we take and view photographs, but changed the way we view the world.”

To examine his hypothesis that whether you are a professional photographer or not, shooting on an iPhone, a Sony RX1, or a Leica M6, it’s the creativity with which you take and share the pictures that matters to me, not the camera, Bareham paired the three different cameras side by side.


In the end, it is not about technical aspects of the photo, but our connection to the image. Its honesty; its realism; its creativity; its intimate look into our daily lives, however fantastic or mundane.

So tell us: how do you feel camera phones have impacted you as a photographer? Do you feel this innovation has furthered our craft?

To read the full article: click here.

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Terrance

    The digital camera, and even more so the smart phone, brought photography to a much larger audience which resulted in a more diverse range of photographs being created and more possibilities as we can be fearless in our creatives projects without wasting lost of money and time.

    Like most (if not all) smart phone owners, I never leave home without it. It enables me to take more photos, more often, and share with the world immediately. While the glass may not be as good and we are limited with the controls and functions, the great photographers still shine as it’s their eye that makes the difference and not their gear.

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