“Becoming a MoPho”: A Look at Mobile Photography’s Past & Future
So as I wrote in my year end review, 2011 was rather eventful as far as mobile photography goes. It’s clearly reached the mainstream, and that can be both a good and bad thing.
Let’s face it — shooting with mobile devices is the future of photography. It doesn’t mean “traditional” photography is going away any time soon, or will become any less important. There will always be cameras specifically made to be just that…cameras (and no, they won’t also make phone calls and play Angry Birds). There will also always be new innovations made to cameras that may not be possible on a phone yet due to its size limitations, such as the recent introduction of the Lytro (where you can choose where the “focus” goes on an image AFTER you’ve shot it). But the fact remains that cameras on smartphones and other portable devices are going to continue to improve, and the “always with you” convenience of them will ultimately propel and advance “mobile” to the forefront of photography.
As the New Year begins, I can’t help thinking about where mobile photography is headed to next. But it’s also made me reflect on its origins…
So when did the birth of mobile photography REALLY start? Well not with Instagram, which, sadly, many people actually believe today. Heck, it didn’t even start with the iPhone for that matter. The technology to have a “camera on a chip” was actually developed by Dr. Eric Fossum while working at NASA in the early ’90s — but while it would become the basis for all camera phones to come, it would still be several years before it would actually materialize on working cellphone units. In 1995, a dozen years before the debut of the iPhone, Apple even experimented with a Videophone PDA that they showed at Macworld ‘95, which could have easily popularized mobile photography a good decade before it became a “thing” — that is, if the device had ever actually come out…
Apple’s Videohone PDA that never was