Over the past few days I’ve been discussing my thoughts on breaking the highlight reel – i.e., stop using your social media accounts to only show an unrealistic, stylised view of your life and instead decide that if you’re going to share, then share warts and all.
So when I stumbled across this camera today, it gave me mixed views. It’s called Camera Restricta, and it’s built to stop everyone taking the same picture over and over. Designed with a smartphone inside, that smartphone uses a GPS-tracking app to find your location, and figure out how many photos online have been tagged within a 115-foot radius of. If lots of photos have been taken in the area, the camera refuses to take a snap, and will only start working again once you’ve moved to a less documented place.
On one hand, I think this a super clever idea. I recently travelled to Venice and despite clicking away at my camera every two minutes, I always try and take pictures which are a little bit more interesting, hopefully capturing my feelings about a location and how I’ve interpreted it*. A thousand other tourists with their selfie sticks were posing outside Saint Mark’s Basilica and I had to suppress a small sigh at the fact that most were more occupied with getting the perfect photo than actually stopping to look at the incredible structure before their eyes. If you don’t connect with it in person, you’re not going to connect with a photo thrown up on your Facebook. (*Hi, my name is Phoebe, and I’m a hipsterholic.)
So to have Camera Restricta blocking the tourist zones may be a genius idea. These places are popular for a reason – usually because they hold something very historical or beautiful, and if we’re too busy on our phones or cameras of course we’re not going to appreciate it in person. Plus, there’s a little thrill involved knowing that if the camera is letting you capture a snap then it will be a lot more original, secret even – you might be photographing something never before shared. And one certainty is that if you are able to shoot with the camera, you’ve managed to find your way sufficiently off the beaten tourist track. Isn’t that what every traveller wants?
Countering this, I can see why people may think this is pretentious. It’s certainly not your standard holidaymakers point-and-shoot equipment, and who’s got the right to say where you should and shouldn’t take a photo, as long as you’re enjoying the place where you are?
It’s difficult to know whether Camera Restricta would help to break the highlight reel so often seen in touristic holiday pictures, or just promote a new, super-hipster kind of slideshow. Make your own mind up by watching the video by Camera Restricta’s maker, German designer Phillip Schmitt, below.