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Through an iPhone 4’s Lens

Sev­en years ago, the fourth gen­er­a­tion of Apple’s iPhone insti­gat­ed a change in our per­cep­tion of dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy. Now — thanks to Google Pho­tos — I’d like to reflect on my favorite shots of mine.
When iPhone 4 hand­sets began ship­ping in the Sum­mer of 2010, I’d been car­ry­ing my first gen­er­a­tion for three sol­id years - since its now his­to­ry-strick­en release, in fact - and its age start­ed to become a prob­lem. I’d drop it screen-down on a rock in the air­port park­ing lot just before going back to school for my Junior year, split­ting a crack in the screen that wouldn’t quite kill it - it was the demands of iOS 4 on its 412 MHz CPU and mea­ger 128 MB of RAM that would ulti­mate­ly cease its usabil­i­ty.
 
The sin­gle 2 megapix­el rear-fac­ing cam­era would sur­prise one at times, but was nev­er laud­ed as any­thing but what it was - a mobile phone-bound sen­sor cap­tur­ing very cel­lu­ar-look­ing images, but Steve Jobs wasn’t three min­utes in to his iPhone 4 pre­sen­ta­tion at the June 2010 World­wide Developer’s Con­fer­ence before he pro­nounced the design’s clos­est pos­si­ble kin” to be an old Leica cam­era,” asso­ci­at­ing his device with pho­tog­ra­phy in its first impres­sion. The equiv­a­lent of the first generation’s rear-fac­ing cam­era could now be found fac­ing you, and the fourth’s pri­ma­ry sen­sor now shot at 5 megapix­els (2592 x 1936) with aut­o­fo­cus and 5x dig­i­tal zoom, set­ting a fun­da­men­tal smart­phone sen­sor con­fig­u­ra­tion stan­dard that’s still adhered to by the indus­try.
 
After unleash­ing Google Pho­tos upon the ~15,000 images on my home machine’s hard dri­ve last year, I have been con­stant­ly remind­ed of my own pho­to­graph­ic his­to­ry - for bet­ter or worse - and reg­u­lar­ly shown five, six, sev­en-year old snaps in a man­ner that wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble (or have made any sense) before. Recent­ly, I was astound­ed to find that I took many of the bet­ter shots with my iPhone 4, so I thought I’d share a few from my high-school days in lov­ing mem­o­ry of my trusty lit­tle rec­tan­gu­lar com­pan­ion.
 
All tak­en with iPhone 4, left unedit­ed. View more on Flickr.
Edi­tor-in-Chief