Strolling Artists, Bearing iPhones, article.
Amateur photography was almost dead in the nineties, I guess because personal computers took up the time of most hobbyists. I remember asking in a kiosk in a train station for photo magazines. The girl looked helplessly around, didn't find any, and said: "... if you'd asked for computer magazines, then...", pointing at the wide range available of those.
Then, just around the millennium, good digital cameras began to be priced so amateurs could afford them, first with the Canon 30D, then even more with the Nikon D70. And amateur photography took off again like a rocket, to the degree that prices in most areas of professional photography have suffered greatly.
And now, just in time for the second decade of the third millennium (what cool timing), the iPhone 4 has put a really good camera in an affordable phone, and tons of apps have arrived, even more affordable (ridiculous prices even, one or two dollars a piece). And Internet apps like Instagram let people share photos worldwide in seconds.
Maybe most of the practitioners are not "real artists", but heck, neither was most people ever, no matter the technology. The iPhone 4 camera is about as good as most 35mm cameras were, in some ways much better, so I really don't see any reason to look down the nose at this new phenomenon. Who knows where it will lead. For example, for years much of the work in early desktop publishing was effect-happy, using all the fonts available in one document and such. But things mature.
From the Instagram fan "DocPop":