The latest list of inductees to the 2016 class of the International Photography Hall of Fame reads like a who's who of top tier photographers and industry pioneers. Gracing the list are the likes of Annie Leibovitz, Sebastiao Salgado, Ken Burns, Tom and John Knoll, Ernst Haas, and Steve Jobs. Wait, what? Steve Jobs?
After my mind wrapped itself around the concept, it's kind of a no brainer. Photography has never been more ubiquitous than it is today, and arguably the most influential player in the game has been the iPhone. The iPhone brought photo-taking and sharing to a level previously unseen, creating enough fervor in the photography industry to spur the launch of photo-centric apps like Instagram and Snapchat. For better or worse, mobile photography, both selfie and not, has become a way of life. Children as young as two up to centenarians are getting in on the act, posting photos chronicling their day, applying their filters of choice, and sharing with the world.
Of course, some purists may believe that 99.999% of the photography that comes out of mobile platforms is garbage, and they may be right. But that is neither here nor there. Photography is a different beast than it was 10 years ago. Many more players have entered the game with arguably better cameras, better technology, and more innovation, but the iPhone was the first to get the formula right. Steve Jobs and Apple made mobile photography accessible in a way that changed the industry forever. Whether that change has been good or bad, I'll leave up to you.
Lead image by Matthew Yohe, used under Creative Commons.