Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Winners of the 2017 iPhone Photography Awards

This is, naturally, the tenth anniversary of the iPhone Photography Awards, and the winning photographs this year are — as you’d expect — stunning. Be sure you don’t miss the winners and honourable mentions in the sub-categories like news and events, nature, and landscape.

Even with some digging, I know very little about the iPhone Photography Awards, largely because they don’t explain a lot about themselves. There seems to be no published documentation about who the judges are or what they’re looking for, and — combined with its entry fees — I don’t know how respectable it is as a talent-based contest. It may very well be completely legitimate, but they don’t provide a lot of information, which is why I’m a little hesitant to link to it.

But it is the longest-running iPhone-specific photography contest around, as far as I can tell, and that makes for a rare opportunity to compare some of the best iPhone photography of this year against some of the best shot with the original iPhone. That camera may have been nothing to shout about, but it was paired — eventually — with the ability to share and edit those photos directly on the device. That changed everything about what we can do with the camera we always have with us.

Aside from image quality, I think the most noticeable change in recent years is the variety of locations that have been featured amongst the winners. The original iPhone was only sold in seven countries which, even when travel is taken into consideration, severely limited its ability to capture the world. But its availability quickly ramped up with successive generations, and you can now find photos shot with an iPhone pretty much everywhere.