Taking a photo used to cost a bit of money. Cameras and film were expensive and then there was the price of processing on top. Unless someone else was footing the bill, people weren’t travelling around shooting hundreds of photos a day. That was until digital photography arrived and phones turned into cameras.

Now photos are basically free, we’re drowning in a tsunami of images – lots of them beautiful and inspiring, but mostly just the same ones over and over, especially when it comes to travel photography.

Built to fight the overflow, Camera Restricta is a prototype design of a new kind of camera. It locates itself via GPS and searches online for photos that have been geotagged nearby. If the camera decides too many photos have already been captured at a location, it retracts the shutter and blocks the viewfinder. No more happy snaps for you!

If the camera decides too many photos have already been captured at a location, it retracts the shutter and blocks the viewfinder.

Of course, you can’t judge the quality of a photo by counting the number of times other people have shot a landmark. Still, it’s not a bad indicator that the pic you’re about to take might not be so special.

The camera works by scanning an area of roughly 35 by 35 meters around its location and looking for photos from that spot online. According to the geniuses that came up with idea, famous tourist sights are photographed so often that Camera Restrica regularly finds tens of thousands of examples from its searches. When this happens, the camera also starts playing a clicking sound, like a metal detector. But instead of revealing some hidden treasure, the more it buzzes, the less photographic gold you’re likely to capture.

A long way from going into mass production, there could be a Camera Restricta app for your smartphone in the not-too-distant future, so everyone can turn their passive little device into a bossy art critic and boring holiday photos will become a thing of the past.

Image: The Camera Restricta prototype out in the wild. 

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