In November of 2009, Knox Bronson approached Rae Douglass at the Giorgi Gallery in Berkeley, California, with the idea of presenting a gallery exhibit of iPhone photography.
The serendipitous launch of the Pixels at an Exhibition website that December, with its call for submissions for what was to be the first juried gallery show of iPhone photography ever, heralded a new era for the medium. Up until then, the burgeoning scene had existed only on Flickr and was dominated by a hierarchy of street photographers who left little room for any other kind of work in the various iPhone groups that populated the site. Not only that, they allowed off-device editing, i.e., using Photoshop on a desktop computer.
Pixels upended that apple cart with the announcement of and a call for submissions for gallery show in Berkeley, which opened on January 30, 2010. Over the next few years, Pixels would do more gallery shows, define the medium (shot and apped on iPhone only), maintain the only curated iphoneographic website, garner press from around the world, and attract and set the bar for a community of talented and passionate artists from every walk of life: mothers, mailmen, artists, baristas, you name it, and, yes, even “real” photographers.
That year, Alexis Madrigal would write about Pixels in The Atlantic Monthly:
There’s an exhibition of iPhone art touring the country right now. It debuted in San Francisco last month, and will hit Chicago and New York in the next two weeks. “Pixels at an Exhibition” features art produced solely with the iPhone — and some of it is gorgeous. I rest my case with Maia Panos’ “Morning Glow,” a fine example of the iPhone pictorialist genre.
Today Pixels is the repository of twenty-nine thousand images (and still growing), out of approximately two-hundred thousand submitted, documenting the emergence of a new artform on the world stage, its technology, its culture, and most importantly its art and its artists.
“Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established, in times very different from the present, by men whose power of action upon things was insignificant in comparison with ours. But the amazing growth of our techniques, the adaptability and precision they have attained, the ideas and habits they are creating, make it a certainty that profound changes are impending in the ancient craft of the Beautiful. —Paul Valéry, Aesthetics