The continued massive growth of connected mobile devices is shaping not only how we communicate with each other, but how we look, behave, and experience the world around us. Smartphones and other handheld devices have become indispensable tools, appendages held at arm's length to record a scene or to snap a selfie. Recent news photos show refugees fleeing war-torn regions holding up their phones as prized possessions to be saved, and relatives of victims lost to a disaster holding up their smartphones to show images of their loved ones to the press. Celebrity selfies, people alone in a crowd with their phones, events obscured by the very devices used to record that event, the brightly lit faces of those bent over their small screens, these are some of the scenes depicted below. [Editor's note, this photo essay was previously published here earlier this year.]
U.S. soldiers take pictures of President Barack Obama after he delivered a speech at U.S. military base Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, South Korea, on April 26, 2014.
A man holds his phone up in an attempt to get a better phone signal in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on November 26, 2014.
Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images
Miss Nord-Pas-de-Calais Camille Cerf takes a selfie with her smartphone, surrounded by photographers, after winning the Miss France 2015 beauty contest on December 6 in Orleans.
Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images
Thousands of demonstrators hold up their cell phones as they protest against an Internet tax planned to be introduced by the Hungarian government, in front of the Ministry of National Economy in Budapest, Hungary, on October 26, 2014. Inscription reads: "Mafia government."
Laszlo Beliczay, MTI/AP
A penitent called "Morion" checks his mobile phone in Mogpog town on Marinduque island in central Philippines on April 14, 2014.
Erik De Castro/Reuters
Members of the Guarani Nandeva tribe stand guard at the entrance to one of the 14 farms they have been occupying for the past 78 days, claiming they are part of the ancestral land called Tekoha Yvy Katu, in the Japora municipality of Mato Grosso do Sul state, near the southern border with Paraguay, on December 18, 2013.
A North Korean soldier uses her mobile phone next to a sentry on the banks of the Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, on June 1, 2014.
The country-music artist Taylor Swift takes a selfie with a fan as she arrives at the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on April 6, 2014.
An internally displaced young Afghan man looks at his mobile phone in a camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, on December 24. Thousands of Afghans are pouring into makeshift camps in the capital where they face a harsh winter as the Taliban return to areas once cleared by foreign forces, for whom this week marked the end of their combat mission.
A relative shows a picture of passengers who were traveling on the missing Malaysian air carrier AirAsia flight QZ8501 on her mobile-phone screen at the airport in Surabaya, East Java, on December 28.
Juni Kriswanto/AFP/Getty Images
Girls walk with their cellphones along the beach at twilight during the Labor Day long weekend in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida, on August 31, 2014.
Mobile devices as artifacts. A collection of cellphones and communication devices discovered in the rubble from the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center are displayed as part of a new exhibit marking the 10th anniversary of the attacks, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., as seen on August 31, 2011.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
A man takes a self-portrait with his mobile phone in front of a statue of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong at an art exhibition celebrating the upcoming 120th anniversary of the birthday of the former leader in Beijing on December 24, 2013.
Transceiver equipment for mobile communication is mounted on top of an artificial palm tree near a venue of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, on October 7, 2013.
The U.S. actor Sylvester Stallone shows a selfie he took ringside, prior to the boxing match between Jessie Vargas of the U.S. and his Mexican rival Antonio DeMarco at the Cotai Arena in Macau on November 23.
Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images
A penitent of the San Gonzalo brotherhood holds a mobile phone under his hood as he takes part in a Holy Week procession in the Andalusian capital of Seville, southern Spain, on April 14, 2014.
Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters
A model prepares backstage before at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show in Mexico City on November 12, 2012.
Muhibija Buljubasic, 56, poses for photo with cutlery and a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone on his body and head in Srebrenik, on February 23, 2014. Buljubasic says that he discovered five years ago that he had the unusual ability to attach items to his body by radiating a special energy. Without making any special preparation, he claims he was able to hold on to spoons, forks, knives, and other kitchen appliances, as well as non-metal objects like remote controls and cellphones.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. employees and executives use their mobile phones to take pictures as they arrive for the company's initial public offering (IPO) under the ticker "BABA" at the New York Stock Exchange on September 19, 2014.
A racegoer uses the camera on her phone to check her hair on the opening day of the Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse on April 3, 2014, in Aintree, England.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
A doctor uses a smartphone to record a photo of a child with facial deformity before surgery at the Vietnam Cuba hospital in Hanoi on November 18.
A Muslim pilgrim prays as another takes a photo with his mobile phone at the Grand Mosque during Tawaf al-Wadaa (Farewell Tawaf) on the last day of the annual haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca on October 29, 2012.
Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
Protestors and student demonstrators hold up their cellphones in a display of solidarity during a protest outside the headquarters of Legislative Council in Hong Kong on September 29, 2014.
Xaume Olleros/AFP/Getty Images
Tanzanian porters and guides stand on a rock halfway up Mount Kilimanjaro at sunset on September 21, 2014, trying to get a mobile-phone signal to call their wives. Two teams were taking part in a grueling eight-day trek up the vast extinct volcano to play a full Twenty20 game in the ice-covered crater just below its rugged peak, at 5,785 meters (19,000 feet).
Peter Martell/AFP/Getty Images
A visually impaired Indian athlete uses his mobile phone held at a very close distance from his eye on the sidelines of the inaugural National Judo championship for the blind in New Delhi on January 6.
Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images
Visitors take photos with their mobile phones at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Cusco on December 2.
Amber Rose takes a selfie as she arrives at The People Magazine Awards at the Beverly Hilton hotel on December 18 in Beverly Hills.
Bystanders photograph the body of a suspected Ebola victim lying in a street in the town of Koidu, Kono district in Eastern Sierra Leone, on December 18.
The face of Pope Francis is obscured by mobile phones held up as he arrived to lead a special audience for Vatican employees and their families at the Paul VI's hall at the Vatican on December 22.
Visitors raise their cameras and mobile phones in front of the Dutch master Rembrandt's famous artwork "The Night Watch" painting to take pictures of Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, with the Dutch King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima during their visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on April 5, 2014.
Models wait backstage during Ukrainian Fashion Week in Kiev on October 15, 2014.
Onlookers take pictures of stranded window washers hanging from scaffolding on the side of One World Trade Center on November 12.
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Audience members photograph the Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen as she walks, holding the hands of the designers Jeziel Moraes (left) and Adriana Zucco (right) onstage after presenting a creation from the Colcci Winter 2014 collection during Sao Paulo Fashion Week on October 31, 2013.
A woman uses a smartphone in front of the city skyline in Seoul at dusk on March 21, 2014.
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
A couple takes a selfie while kissing in Kiev, Ukraine, on April 10, 2008.
An Iraqi Christian, who asked not to be named, poses for a photograph in her tented home erected in the grounds of Mazar Mar Eillia Catholic Church, that has become home to hundreds of fellow Iraqi Christians who were forced to flee their homes—many with less than an hour to do so—as the ISIS militants advanced, on December 13 in Erbil, Iraq. Asked, after her family, what was the one thing she could not leave behind as ISIS advanced on her home, the student from Qaraqosh said her mobile phone, held here.