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This Camera Refuses to Take Pictures of Over-Photographed Locations

Mental Floss logo Mental Floss 9/15/2015 Michele Debczak
This Camera Refuses to Take Pictures of Over-Photographed Locations © Philipp Schmitt This Camera Refuses to Take Pictures of Over-Photographed Locations

Every year, flocks of tourists travel to iconic destinations just to view them through a camera lens. Since the popularization of smartphones (and selfies), what were already the most overly photographed landmarks on earth are now more well-documented than ever. Camera Restricta seeks to reverse this trend by locking its shutter in heavily photographed locations.

Conceived by German designer Philipp Schmitt, the “camera" is made from a 3D-printed shell that encloses a smartphone. An app uses GPS to track your location and calculate how many online photos have been geotagged within a 115-foot radius. If too many photos have already been taken there, Camera Restricta refuses to function. It only allows you to start photographing again once you've moved to a less-documented area.

In an age when technology is increasingly anticipating our every want and need, a camera that dictates its own rules is a refreshing change. The digital interface displays your geographical coordinates, the number of pictures taken at your location, and whether or not you’re allowed to photograph there. Reminiscent of a Geiger counter, a small speaker emits electronic feedback that increases in intensity the closer you are to an over-photographed location.

© Philipp Schmitt

Camera Restricta is meant to encourage photographers to seek out non-clichéd images, but it was also created as a commentary on political censorship. A proposal recently went up for vote in the European Parliament that would have restricted the photography of copyrighted buildings and artworks from public places. Though the measure was struck down, Camera Restricta explores an alternate world in which modern photography isn’t as easy as point and shoot.

You can download the open-source app from Camera Restricta’s project page.

Camera Restricta from Philipp Schmitt on Vimeo.

[h/t: Fast Company]

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