When the iPhone Photography Awards were launched in 2007, photo-capable telephones were still in their infancy — with very low resolution and heavy pixelation. That was the time when stylized filters were commonplace, and the idea of a professional photographer using an iPhone was considered a faux pas.
A lot has changed since then, and as this year’s winners in the iPhone Photography Awards show, the quality of images has come a long way. Kenan Aktulun, who created the awards, agreed: “This year’s entries come from a very personal place, with less technical experimentation and more focus on moments, emotions and stories,” he told In Sight.
This year’s grand prize was awarded to Gabriella Cigliano, an amateur photographer from Italy. “I participated to my first and only photo contest when I was around 14 years old,” she said. “At the time, I was discovering my passion for photography. I took some photography classes but nothing more.”
Cigliano does not consider herself a photographer. “I just like to take pictures,” she said. “I don’t have a professional camera, but I have almost 50,000 photos jealously guarded in my iPhone library. I have my iPhone with me all the time, and I think of it as an extension of my eyes. And that’s what photography is for me: my way of creating memories and put them in my personal diary, except that I don’t have a diary, but a photo library and my Instagram account.”
Cigliano’s photo, taken while in Tanzania, was selected from among thousands of entries submitted from more than 140 countries. Diogo Lage from Portugal placed first in the Photographer of the Year category, followed by Yuliya Ibraeva of Russia and Peng Hao of China, while many other photographers were also rewarded across 18 categories. “These photos find the peace and humanity, compassion and beauty in the world that surrounds us,” Aktulun said.
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