The Camera Restricta is the art project that will not allow snaps that it has worked out to be like, totally done
Go onto Google Images, Flickr, Tumblr. Type in any major landmark in the world. And just keep on scrolling. You’ll find an infinite number of sub-par photographs of any given tourist destination. One artist has said no to this madness. He’s created a new camera prevents you from replicating shitty clichéd shots.
Marketed as “a disobedient tool for taking unique photographs”, the Camera Restricta locates itself via GPS and searches online for photos that have been geotagged nearby. If the camera decides too many photos have been taken at your run-of-the-mill tourist trap of a destination, it retracts and blocks the viewfinder. No photos for you here.
What gave artist Phillipp Schmitt the inspiration for his camera? “From my apartment I have a view onto a fountain outside, with paintings on the sides and such. It looks alright, but certainly not something special. Still, I often see people taking pictures of it,” Schmitt explained to Dazed. “I wondered how many pictures of that boring fountain existed, so I looked up the geotag online and found a lot. And then I checked more famous places like the Eiffel tower and found thousands of pictures, many of which looked very similar.”
“I’m not telling anyone that they should photograph or not, that’s none of my business. But still, it’s interesting that people take the same pictures over and over again, isn’t it?” And so the Camera Restricta was born. Essentially, he came up with the scenario of something that limits photography and rolled with it.
In case you were hoping to buy this for your parents so you won’t endure a two-hour long tour-by-photo of the entire city (hotel room and bathroom included) from their week in Paris, tough luck. It’s only an art project as it stands. You’ll have to endure the Louvre and Arc de Triomphe from every possible angle, taken by every possible person.
When asked why he hasn’t decided to bring this to the masses, Schmitt told Dazed it’s because he doubts it’d totally end shit photos. “You can’t judge the uniqueness of a possible photo just by counting the geotags nearby,” he explained. “That’s why I don’t believe that a working Camera Restricta would actually lead to better photos. Instead, the project was meant to encourage people to think about what, where and why they shoot, as well as alerting how easy it would be to implement political censorship into cameras/phones.”
Still, think. It’d stop the flow of ever-swelling mass of picture #content being regurgitated back into the world wide web, from now until eternity. Why do we need a crap picture of the Eiffel Tower when hundreds of beautifully shot ones exist a click away? What’s the point? What are we trying to prove? Canon Camera Restricta for 2020.