Smithsonian.com recently announced the finalists of its annual photo contest, which honors entries in categories including “Travel,” “People,” and “The Natural World.” But the images in the “Mobile” category, shot exclusively with smartphones, may be the most interesting.
The pictures are stunning in their own right but are also noteworthy when you think about the variety of scenes captured through a smartphone’s lens, among them delicately lit moments, bright landscapes, and intimate portraits. It’s a testament not only to how smartphone capabilities have improved over the years, but also how much phone photography is a dominant visual medium.
The contest added the mobile category in 2013 as “a basic recognition that mobile cameras had advanced enough that skilled photographers could capture some really beautiful shots,” a spokesperson said.
The word “skilled” is important. As much as automatic filters and enhancement have made it easy to create good-looking images, it still takes a photographer’s eye to properly capture a scene.
Here are the finalists in the category, along with captions written by the contestants themselves.