Why Take A Photo…

of what you can see with your own eyes in front of you? Taking a photo often means trading the actual moment against some moment in the future when you might want to impress friends or bore grandchildren or, worse, impress yourself with your past. Taking other people’s photos is much more positive. Rather than self affirmation it can only be motivated by actual interest and curiosity and playfulness. “What is a complete stranger doing at this moment?” or “What kind of photo did a complete stranger take it this place?” may seem arbitrary questions. But a photo showing just that has the potential to add something to your own life as oposed to recycling it.

At a Pecha Kucha Night in Berlin in 2006 Sascha Pohflepp presented his first prototype of a device that takes photos from Flickr which were uploaded the exact moment one pushed the button on the device. It was called Blinks & Buttons and resembled a compact camera from the 70s without lense and with a big orange button. As a hardware device it was an art oddity, but very visionary.

Photo taken with Bittons
Time: Sep 18, 2010, 00:53h

Now Pohflepp published Buttons.app with the help of Electric Mobile. It’s great. A switch allows choosing whether you want a picture that was taken at the same time or one that was taken at the same location. You can set the radius. Especially photos taken at the same location may be quite revealing and actually useful. I like that what you get is not alway a photo (see below)

One feature I miss is a function that adds coordinates and timestamp to the filename when saving or, better even, a full fledged archive with time a and coordinates.

Location: Tiergarten Berlin, Radius: 2km
Location: Hansaviertel Berlin, Radius: 2km
Photo taken with Buttons
Location: Tiergarten Berlin, Radius: 2km

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