1st Camera-Phone Public Photo

On June 11th, 1997, Philippe Kahn created the first camera phone solution to share pictures instantly on public networks. The impetus for this invention was the birth of Kahn’s daughter, when he jerry-rigged a mobile phone with a digital camera and sent photos in real time. In 2016 Time Magazine included Kahn’s first camera phone photo in their list of the 100 most influential photos of all time.


The Camera-Phone was born in Santa Cruz on June 11, 1997 at the Sutter Maternity Clinic.

Inventor Philippe Kahn was there with his wife, Sonia Lee. Philippe had been working on the technology components for an “instant visual communicator.” After Sonia went into labor, Philippe completed the invention. He wired together his digital camera, his cellphone, and a laptop and ran the software he had developed. The server infrastructure allowed him to instantly share Sophie’s birth picture with friends and family around the world. The architecture and design became the blueprint for today’s social media.

The original picture is 240 by 320 pixels. It is available in three versions: Originalmedium pixelatedlarge pixelated


Additional Reading

A baby girl and the camera phone were born 20 years ago
Larry Magid, June 12, 2017

Philippe Kahn named by tech journalist Mossberg in list of top 5 all time most influential technologists
Walter Mossberg, August 11, 2017

Happy Birthday Camera Phone! Your Papa Is Very Proud of You
Tekla S. Perry, June 12, 2017

Santa Cruz’s Philippe Kahn makes Time’s 100 most influential photos of all time
Associated Press, November 17, 2016

Evolution of the Camera Phone
Stuff.tv, June 20, 2016

Mach was aus dir!
BLICKPUNKTE Matthias Hohensee, September 8, 2015

Inventor Philippe Kahn on Audacity, Talent, and Luck
Inc., Lewis Schiff, April 27, 2013

Cell Phone, The Ring Heard Around The World
CBC, April 4, 2008

Emailing the Father of the Camera Phone as He Sails Across the Great Blue Pacific
Brian Lam, Gizmodo, July 19 2007

Baby’s arrival inspires birth of cellphone camera — and societal evolution
USA Today, January 23 2007

The Camera Phone
Slate, January 17 2007

Small Camera, Big Vision

The Big Picture
Wired, October 1, 2000