It’s easy to forget that the first iPhone was released just over ten years ago, in 2007.
In the decade since, smartphones and their embedded cameras have become an extension of ourselves. These cameras and their capabilities – sometimes surpassing expectations at extraordinary rates – may have created a challenge for the digital camera market but they have also sparked their own kind of boom in digital photography, alongside photo-led social media apps such as Instagram.
The Mobile Photography Awards, an international contest founded in 2011 to recognise, foster and celebrate the talent and imagery of the mobile photo and art communities, has announced the winners of its seventh annual competition. Looking at the Architecture and Design category alone, the images, all captured on a smartphone, iPod or tablet, are astounding.
The overall winner for this category was Joao Batista Sousa from Brazil with his image Crossed Lines. “I chose Sousa’s Crossed Lines because he nailed every element I look for in a great photograph,” says James Bacchi, the judge for this category and co-founder of ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco, US. “A great image begins with an original point of view of something seen many times before. This can be as simple as capturing a new angle or perspective, or playing with the subject’s surroundings. I want to be captured, arrested and held for ransom by the image. While I appreciate the technical wonders of apps, I also want to feel the purity of the image and the moments in which it was photographed. Light, perhaps, is most important.”
Self-taught photographer Sousa took this photograph on the rooftop of the Museum of Photography in Fortaleza in Brazil, a modern building designed by Marcus Novais Architects. This sinuous and striking building enticed Sousa with its play on light. He explains: “Fortaleza, in the north-east region of Brazil, is known for its intense light at all times of the year. The shadows and lines that the terrace projected on to the walls seduced me as a photographer.” A keen exponent of Brazilian architecture, Sousa likes to include architecture in his photography as an identifying element of local culture.