Remember toy cameras like the Holga or Diane? Plastic bodies and lens - Polaroid films? Those cameras took horrible photos but so many people used them to document so many lives that the snapshots they revealed have become a rich part of our culture. How many people still remember the smell of a polaroid photo or waiting to peel it back and see the image left on the paper? They were imperfect, just like our lives, but by the nature of the photo equipment and the people that used it these snapshots were not composed still life images or great landscapes, they were moments. Moments in our lives and moments dedicated to the people or objects in our lives that meant something. It was our first chance to show the world what *we* were seeing.
I think the iPhone (and all camera phones) are the new toy cameras of this generation. I think this idea is not new, but honestly I had this in mind over 8 years ago when I bought my first little Samsung phone with a camera. It was one of the first to come out and the pictures that they made were worse than most webcams. Still, they captured moments framed by poor exposure and cheap lenses, over-pixelated and charming.
The cameras have improved significantly but with phones like the iPhone people have developed all sorts of apps to capitalize on the "toyness" of the camera. I love my iPhone and the snapshots it takes. I can't replicate them with my digital SLR and I don't try. I carry the phone and even when shooting something serious with my Nikon I find I still grab the phone to get that snapshot that sums up the moment. Here are a few Snapshots from Hipstamatic, the great app that has made these iPhone photos famous!