Each morning I pass Manhattan's Central Booking, a/k/a jail. Sometimes a squadcar pulls up and a pair of hotcops transfer an arrestee inside, marching the handcuffed perp through the gate. Two weeks ago, as this familiar sight was unfolding, a hipster walked past, spotted a perp march in progress, pulled his phone out to shoot it, then walked away.
I don't get why people feel compelled to take photos of certain things. Is this guy going to go home and pore over these photos, or frame them for his wall, or post them to his Facebook wall? What is the point of capturing an image?
Artist and interaction design student Philipp Schmitt has undoubtedly asked himself the same question. His latest project, Camera Restricta, is a concept whereby the camera decides whether or not you can shoot a particular thing--or more precisely, at a particular location.
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"It locates itself via GPS and searches online for photos that have been geotagged nearby," Schmitt writes. "If the camera decides that too many photos have been taken at your location, it retracts the shutter and blocks the viewfinder." He shows you how it would work in this (fictional) short:
What I'd really like to see, at least on the crowded sidewalks of Manhattan: A camera that won't let you take selfies, so that smoothly-moving sidewalk traffic becomes more important than narcissism.