Colombian pop star Shakira posted a video to her Instagram last week of her shocked reaction to a phone camera 20 years ago that underlines how far lens technology has progressed.
The Hips Don’t Lie singer is visibly blown away by the technology, in what was clearly the first time she had ever seen such a device.
While inspecting the phone in total awe, she says: “This one doesn’t work in America, no? Thank god, because imagine all the paparazzo.”
Shakira’s assistant also cannot believe her eyes saying: “Oh my god, it’s even digitally moving. It’s a camera,” as she puts her hand to her mouth in amazement.
The clip was filmed in 2001 while the singer was visiting Japan and the device in question is a Sharp J-SHO5 flip phone that was released in late 2000 and had a 0.11-megapixel camera.
According to Digital Camera World, the first commercial camera phone was by a Japanese company called Kyocera. In May 1999, it launched a phone that also featured a front-facing camera with just 110,000 pixels and it could store a maximum of 20 JPEGS.
A couple of years into the new millennium and Sony launched the Sony Ericsson T68i and Nokia released the Nokia 7650.
Today, an estimated seven billion photos are shared each day on Whatsapp alone. But, in the early 2000s, only certain networks allowed photos to be sent and the carrier companies charged exorbitant fees.
The singer uploaded the video to her Instagram with the caption “Can’t see these camera phones catching on.”
One commenter wrote: “Those first cameras had such awful quality. Even the first iPhone was not very good. It is really quite amazing how good the quality is in phones today when it was not so long ago that we had this.”
The video underlines the rapid pace that camera technology has evolved. In two decades, during which Sharkia has remained a relevant pop star, phone cameras have gone from being as rare as unicorns to unavoidable, daily parts of most people’s lives. An estimated 1.72 trillion photos will be taken in 2022, the vast majority on smartphone cameras.
The new millennium ushered in the mass democratization of photography, taking the once elusive art form away from specialists and into the pockets of every person, from Los Angeles to Laos.