Fighting Photo Overflow with a Camera

Monika Kozub
December 16th 2016

Tourist photography - been there, done that. Remember when you needed to queue to take a photo of some iconic place or wait till others get out of your way to capture the view? What if a camera would say "no" when you press the shutter because there are already too many similar pictures on the Internet?

Camera Restricta is a "disobedient tool for taking unique photographs" created by multi-disciplinary designer Philipp Schmitt. It's built from a 3D printed body resembling traditional camera, a smartphone and some basic electronics. It uses geolocation to query Flickr and Panoramio for the number of photos geotagged with similar locations, roughly 35x35 meters around. If there are too many photographs taken on the spot it simply blocks the shutter. You get a feedback about the overall number of pictures uploaded from where you stand. In very busy touristic places it shows thousands of them: Eiffel Tower, 1849 images geotagged nearby; Guggenheim Museum in New York, 1011; Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen,1383; Tiananmen Square in Beijing 1056.

Camera Restricta Viewfinder No Photo

Philipp Schmitt explains his idea: "The project is not only a piece about censorship in a policital sense, but also questions our photographic practice. With digital photography displacing film, taking pictures has essentially become free, resulting in an infinite stream of imagery. Camera Restricta introduces new limitations to prevent an overflow of digital imagery. As a byproduct, these limitations also bring about new sensations like the thrill of being the first or last person to photograph a certain place".

Interested in trying a Camera Restricta? You can download the sofware and turn your phone into one.

Source: Philipp Schmitt

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