Camera Restricta

Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch GmündGermany


Concept / Student


Philipp Schmitt

Project Description

Algorithms are already looking through the viewfinder alongside with you: they adjust settings, scan faces and take a photo when you smile. What if your grin wasn’t the only thing they cared about? Camera Restricta reimagines the camera. What today is an obedient tool becomes an authority.

My project explores censorship through technology from two standpoints:

  • creating an artificial scarcity (of available photo opportunities) in a world of infinite photos, to encourage creativity. It’s similar to the 140 characters on Twitter or the 6s on Vine.
  • demonstrating how easy it would be to implement mechanics of political censorship in the public. Every smartphone has GPS and a data connection. That’s all it needs to be turned into a camera restricta via a simple software update.

The project was meant to be a conversation-starter; to encourage people with cameras to think about what, where and why they shoot. The story was picked up by every photography blog or forum I know, as well as lots of other media. People discussed it in hundreds of comments: whether this was bullshit or art, but more importantly: what’s the point of taking pictures?
I like to think that this proves that Camera Restricta is a powerful idea (even though not a desirable product) and maybe even deserves to win this award.


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