The smartphone camera has largely contributed to social media as we know it and is now being used for high quality product shoots, shooting YouTube content, Short video platforms such as Tiktok and Instagram reels, only to mention a few. The selfie was birthed from using the front camera to capture oneself, which in itself was a culture defining moment
As captured in the stories below, phone cameras have democratize photography. Anyone who owns a decent smartphone is potentially a photographer. As years roll by, the cameras get better, competing with professional cameras. The iPhone camera is legendary in its Vivid, pleasant rendering quality while the recently launched Samsung S21 boasts a 108 Megapixel camera.
A man took his long-time girlfriend to Zanzibar on holiday, the great island with sandy beaches, blue water, scenic views and romantic aura. On a boat full of flowers, chocolate and candles, he slowly went down on one knee, looked deep into his girl’s eyes – who was now covering her mouth in disbelief and tearing up in boundless joy – and popped the question. “I’m not a man given to poetic declarations baby, but if you were to ask me for the sky, I’d get it for you with all the stars in it.
Will you do me the honor of spending the rest of your life with me?” and held up the diamond ring. His girl, in between sobs and giggles smiled back at him, clearly ecstatic that he had finally proposed to her, reached for her purse, grabbed her phone and opened camera. “Babe, oh my God! let me first quickly take a photo of this moment.”
A road accident has just occurred, a blue Mazda has collided with a matatu, no one in the matatu has been injured, but the Mazda has overturned and there is some smoke coming out of the bonnet. A small crowd of concerned onlookers’ forms around the scene of the accident, as they discuss which of the two vehicles was in the wrong. A guy who was selling mutura by the roadside saw everything as it happened and is filling everyone in.
As people approach the overturned Mazda to see if the driver is okay, he slowly crawls out, whimpering in pain through the broken windscreen mirror with blood on his face and grey sweater. Two men reach out to help the man out, but the mutura guy rushes back to his station and comes back carrying his smartphone. He opens the camera app and captures the scene and the bleeding man on the ground. “Mtu apigie ambulance haraka!” he retorts.
Jonte, a boy child from Kawangware is going on his first date with Maureen today. He has saved up for two months, the same amount of time he’s known her. Judging by the photos Maureen posts on her Instagram page, she’s used to the expensive lifestyle. Jonte feels the pressure of playing ambassador to the boy child fraternity.
He cannot disappoint. He gets a cab, rolls by Maureen’s house, and waits for thirty minutes or so as she gets ready which adds on to his cab bill, but he worries not. Today, he is loaded. They go to an elegant restaurant he picked up from the internet, they order food and drinks but just before they indulge, Maureen pulls out her smartphone and asks to take a selfie with Jonte with the delicacies as the background.
Jonte thinks nothing of the act, but he’s dumbfounded when later in the evening he sees the photo on Maureen’s Instagram stories, with his face cropped out.
Now, I don’t know if the girl in the first story said yes to her boyfriend’s proposal, or the Mutura guy in the second story used his phone to eventually call an ambulance instead of taking a photo of the accident scene or if Jonte confronted Maureen on why she cropped him from her photo. But one thing is for sure. Phone photography is the present and the future, only if we realize the power we hold in our hands in the form of our smartphones. With our phones, we can capture the beauty that constantly smartphones. With our phones, we can capture the beauty that constantly surrounds us and share it with the world.
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