No Way, Cliché: This Camera Won't Work in Tourist Traps

Say so long to Grand Canyon panoramas and Times Square selfies.

A close-up of the Camera Restricta prototype Credit: Philipp Schmitt

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How many times have you seen one of your Facebook friends posing in front of the ruins at Machu Picchu? How many of them have used a forced perspective to make it look like they were holding up the tower at Pisa?

Do you ever feel like you're trapped in an echo chamber of trite travel photography?

If too many people have snapped shots where you're standing, you'd better find a different camera.

Well, a new project by Philipp Schmitt is aiming to change the way we think about taking pictures—specifically, where we take them.

His Camera Restricta is a play on the Camera Obscura, the device that paved the way for all modern cameras. But what exactly is so restricta about it?

The camera uses GPS data cross-referenced with online metadata to determine how many photos on the internet have taken and geotagged in your location. If too many people have snapped shots where you're standing, you'd better find a different camera—or a different place to shoot.

The camera makes a noise not unlike a Geiger counter to indicate how many pictures have been taken in your general vicinity. Ostensibly, you can be the first person to photograph an area—and the last.

Camera Restricta Front

It's not everyday you see a camera with an antenna.

You might be asking yourself: Why on earth would I want to restrict myself so much? Well, why do we limit ourselves to 140 characters per tweet, or six seconds per Vine? Because inspiration can be born out of restrictions, whether they're logistical or philosophical.

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Camera Restricta comes from a long line of so-called "lateral thinking" tools designed to solve problems in an unconventional way. In this case, the problem is cliché, and the solution is a deactivated shutter button.

Camera Restricta Hardware

The 3D-printed camera is still in the prototype phase.

Although the camera is still in the prototype stage, Schmitt says that he's in the process of outfitting the 3D-printed body with the hardware needed to actually take pictures. Until then, enjoy the most picturesque parts of the world while you still can.

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