In The Moment

A magical moment can be so fleeting, and we don’t always have the right equipment to capture it. Smartphone technology is developing extremely fast, and Apple has always had a strong focus on enabling us to have an incredible camera just sitting in our back pocket. In celebration of the incredible imagery people have captured on their iPhones, we offer a selection of our favourites from the finalists of the iPhone Photographer of the Year Awards.

Technology is moving so fast these days, even more so in the smartphone category.

With a background of photography, I am constantly working with images and often get asked about how smartphone cameras compare with the gear I shoot with. Obviously, I immediately scoff, as the thought of the massive investment I have put into my equipment becoming potentially redundant is horrifying, but in reality the quality of those smartphone images is constantly improving. They will never replace a DSLR camera for obvious reasons, but some images captured by ordinary Joe Bloggs have been breathtakingly incredible.

Celebrating those stunning shots is the IPPAWARDS (iPhone Photographer of the year Awards), the longest-running iPhone photography competition, running since 2007. “IPPAWARDS has been celebrating the creativity of iPhone users since the first iPhone has inspired, excited and engaged users worldwide,” creator of IPPAWARDS, Kenan Aktulun, says.

What was once a much smaller organisation – getting entrants from a small circle of people and friends of friends – has developed into a truly global audience, getting thousands of participants and entrants worldwide, and as the technology is getting better with each generation of iPhone, so the entrants’ work improves respectively. “In this time of political upheaval, we feel very thankful to host such a truly diverse group of people and their view of the world,” Aktulun says.

Out of the thousands of entrants, the 2017 grand prize was taken out by Sebastiano Tomada, of New York, US; his entry, titled Children of Qayyarah, was taken using an iPhone 6s, and was shot in 2016 as Iraqi forces launched an attack to retake Mosul from IS control. Smoke from nearby blazing oil wells and retreating soldiers can both be seen in the background.

The Photographer of the Year awards were handed to Brenda O Se, Yeow-Kwang Yeo and Kuanglong Zhang, who came first, second and third, respectively.

The first, second and third places in 19 different categories were awarded to photographers who represented countries around the world – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Myanmar, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.

We have brought you a selection of a few of our favourites from those categories, and hope they inspire you to get out there with your iPhone to capture some of life’s special moments.

“Children roam the streets in Qayyarah, Iraq, near the fire and smoke billowing from oil wells set ablaze by Islamic State militants (ISIS). November 4th, 2016”

Children of Qayyarah

Sebastiano Tomada is a photojournalist based in New York City and the Middle East. While working on commercial and editorial shoots in Europe and the US, Sebastiano developed a unique style, focusing strongly on documentary and portrait photography where he established himself as a photographer for Sipa USA. Travelling extensively for today’s most-recognised publications, his work has excelled in maturity, earning him a series of prestigious awards.

“Monday 24th of October started the eviction of the biggest migrant camp in Europe, named The Jungle. Located in northern France, only 5 kilometres away from the city of Calais. The eviction took place during a week, but on Wednesday 26th of October the camp was set on fire. Thousands of migrants had to leave, some of them were relocated, others kept on being nomads. In the picture, thousands of migrants are getting evicted from the camp due to the several fires that were lit on 26th of October, 2016, Calais, France.”

Samuel Nacar is a young photojournalist who has been covering the migrant crisis for the past four years, starting in Melilla in 2014, where he had his very first experience of migration. After doing an internship for three month at Spanish newspaper El País, he moved to London, to do his most recent career project about Spaniard migrants in London due to the economic crisis. In September of 2015 he went to Lesvos, were he spent six months, documenting what was happening while he was coordinating volunteers.