Reactions to Camera Restricta

NOV 15, 2015
Shooting day
Filming for german television. Boom mic operator loves his job.

When you work on something for too long, you don’t see the good parts anymore. After working on Camera Restricta for over a year, I had lost all sympathy for the project. Then, the response I got was far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

After sending out a link to a couple of sites, some wrote about it. Then, just about every design or photography blog I know featured the story. It was picked up by some major newspapers, I was on television in at least 5 countries and I'm a radio interview pro by now.

So far, the video has over 285.000 views. My website analytics peaked at 10,5k unique visitors in one day, with over 36k visitors since the launch of the project.

The project was meant to be a conversation-starter; to encourage people with cameras to think about what, where and why they shoot. And people actually discussed it in hundreds of comments.

No, everyone! Stop! Its an art school project!! By us discussing the very issues he is being intentionally haphazard with (censorship, free expression, free thought, people who take shitty photos), WE ARE HELPING AN ART STUDENT WIN. He will cite this thread and say "see I made discussion happen!"
— aufmerksam on ChangStar

I'm incredibly grateful for this rollercoaster ride. Now that my phone stopped ringing, I sat down to make a summary of all the comments I received. Some were brilliant, insightful and often funny. Others were insulting and rude. It’s the internet after all.

Read on for a few of my favourite comments. Or see the full best-of archive.

People who have a point

I just wanted to cheer you as I do like your idea. However, I do believe that a commercial blockbuster would require, in fact, the exact OPPOSITE algorithm. In common life, people use to confound art and beauty with canon and dogma. They like what other people like: "beauty" is repetition, and repetition is a form of ethical relief which people love to perform. In fact, we are conservative when it comes to our canons. On the other hand, real innovators dislike to validate their idea through an algorithm.
— Andrea via Email
Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism.
— from The Most Photographed Barn in America, via KirkpatrickMac on MetaFilter
Everything has been photographed--except by me
— Xish on DPreview
The camera could take his one stage further - when you pick the camera up in a well-photographed location, it just downloads the most popular shot from there. This would save you the effort of framing your shot entirely, and you'd always end up with a perfect picture :)
— joosters on Hacker News

People who love it

It's an experiment exploring photography in an authoritarian, photo-restricted world; one that is frighteningly closer than we would like to think. Several countries already ban photographing "copyright protected" landmarks.
The accompanying video is a demonstration of the frustration of someone attempting to take pictures in this restricted world. It's wonderfully understated and ironic.
— trainingpants on DPreview
Absolutely brilliant project. Great vision and extremely well executed - the red cross, the Geiger counter, the retracting shutter button, and the fact it takes into account the pictures the device itself takes.
And if you don't get the point about firmware manipulation by outside authorities, I hope it'll never be your loss.
— Leandros S on DPreview

People who hate it

This measures 100 megakardashians on the stupid meter.
— JackM on DPreview
Camera Restricta - what kind of fascist shit is this?
The headline ... on ChangStar
This 'camera restricta' thing seems like a lazy idea wrapped up in a dumb idea.
Apologies to Philipp Schmitt, who is not, himself, being called dumb or lazy.
— clockzero on MetaFilter
Lucy: That's literally the dumbest thing I ever heard.
Vitruvius: Please, Wyldstyle, let me handle this. That idea is just the worst.
— zardoz on MetaFilter

People who are funny

We keep getting pictures of my Mother in Law sent to us via email from overseas. My other half doesn't mind but I might be interested in one of these.
— backayonder on DPreview
The punishment scale needs to climb.

Blonde in a bikini or sunset? - 240 volts.

Taj Mahal or Mt Rushmore? - the viewfinder pokes you in the eye. Along with 240 volts.

Cat being a cat or selfie being self? - the camera explodes in your face, plays "Wish you were here" and cremates you simultaneously.

— ZJ24 on DPreview
from an artist perspective and as an art object and project it's well made, from a photographic's quite underexposed
— M Lammerse on DPreview
Photos Interruptus must be frustrating.
— obsolescence on DPreview
So what if I am at a popular spot and aliens land in front of have lunch with a Sasquatch. I'm not going to be able to take a pic because my camera says there are too many pics already!? Yes, sign me up
— Todd Kaminsky on DIYPhotography

People who are stupid

Never before something of global significance has happened at a frequently photographed place... at least not in the end-of-the-world redneck town where this idea originated – but below the Eiffel Tower or the Gate of Heavenly Peace or any other place where people take lots of photos.
This is likely the jealousy of the creator: that he never got to leave his province village to see said places.
— translated, Charlyw1 on PetaPixel
Schmitt, that name is over used, hence the obsession
— drawer77 on DPreview
Only a European brain could dream up something this daffy. From the look of the that God-awful contraption, and the word "NEIN" shown on the "screen" -- I would have to venture to guess a German brain?

Danke, aber NEIN.

— Francis Carver on DPreview

I learned some things. Thank you, internet.

Want more? Go see the full best-of archive.