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Clever Networked Cameras Make Photography A Shared Experience

What if, instead of just sharing our photos, we shared the very act of photography?

Clever Networked Cameras Make Photography A Shared Experience

As a species, we sure love sharing photos. We love uploading them to Facebook, Instragram, and Flickr. We love tagging friends and we loathe an unflattering shot that someone else uploads (but we keep uploading all the same). Yet while the web has made it far easier for us to share photos, it’s more a chronicled photo album than a brand new way to document our lives with the people on this adventure with us.

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Take Apollon, a concept by Gordon Tiemstra that’s not just social network photography–it’s social networked photography. He’s designed a series of cameras that friends might take to a party or to the beach. Each can arrange their camera as they see fit, anywhere in the scene, and take a photo with the push of the remote.

So far, they’re just normal cameras. The trick is that Apollon prototypes are networked through RFID (and to the Internet via Wi-Fi). So the images are entering a common montage of a shared experience–friends can even line up their cameras to make joint panoramas or stereoscopic 3-D images.

“I thought it would be interesting to make the process of taking photos more social by decentralizing the role of photographer,” Tiemstra tells Co.Design. “I envisioned what the next step could be in ‘sharing’ and realised that it might be about ‘sharing the experience’ instead of merely ‘sharing the result.'”

We’ve already spotted a complaint that Apollon’s first promotional video uses hipster branding to get their point across. What a sad way to pigeonhole a fantastic idea. The role of the photographer–that friend who insists on Instagramming your lunch, that aunt who only started taking more family photos since the rise of digital, maybe even you with an SLR–is still that of “the photographer.” Even though everyone now has a camera in their pocket, one person is in charge of documenting a scene–be it for a group, or for themselves (each person in a group taking their own, narrow, even competitive photos of an experience).

Apollon is really less a product-sized solution to the inherent antisocial behavior of photographers, and more a different way of viewing photography altogether. And in that regard, why do we need these fancy cameras at all? Couldn’t an app installed on our cell phones do pretty much the same thing?

“I am currently working on an app, which is premature,” writes Tiemstra. “I’m still in search of the best platform where lenses can be easily combined and data can be automatically transferred.” Eh, forget fancy lenses. Just stick Apollon on the iPhone and Android devices. That’s where the idea (and most all photography) is destined to end up, anyway.

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[Hat tip: PetaPixel]

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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