PetaPixel

An Automated Street Photography Tool?

party-shotIf you haven’t heard already, earlier this month Sony unveiled the new Party-shot personal photographer.

As the name suggests, this is a new camera dock that automatically tilts, pans, composes, detects faces, and takes candid photographs of people at parties. Pretty interesting, huh?

When I first heard about this new “personal photographer”, I immediately started thinking about its potential uses. Basically, you have an immobile robot that can take candid photos through facial recognition that you can place anywhere.

Wouldn’t candid street photography be an interesting application of this new technology?

You would place the camera and robotic dock anywhere on the street at any height, stand by it for a while as people walk near it, and then harvest the candid photographs taken afterwards.

Though you wouldn’t have creative control over the photographs you end up with, this would still be a neat experiment. I can already imagine people making Flickr sets or groups around this very idea.

In fact, I’m going to make one right now, before the thing is even shipped in September. Here it is: Party-shot Street Shots. If you end up buying this $150 dock come September and take some automatic candid street photos with it, be sure to join the group and add them to the pool!

There’s no word on whether it will be customizable or programmable, allowing you to specify conditions for the automatic photography. If Sony is smart, they’ll open up the system to hackers and people who want to customize the Party-shot’s operation.

Let me know what you think about the Party-shot’s potential street photography application. Also, if you can think of any other interesting applications of the Party-shot, let’s discuss it in the comments of this post!


 
 
  • kaolinfire

    Very cool–though if you did leave it on the street (locked up, whatever), you wind up with a bunch of photos you can't use for anything (how would you ever go about tracking down model releases?) No?

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    You don't need a model release unless you plan on somehow making money from the shots. I was thinking more of posting them to your blog or flickr.

  • http://www.asianramblings.com/ Stevo

    You would only need model releases if the images were to be used in advertising/editorial. For documentary/street photography books or photo essays, flickr, blogs, etc. you don't require releases.

  • http://mute.rigent.com/ Miles

    'Proper' art photographers have been using a manual version of this technique for yonks. By that I mean they use automatic setups on the street, triggering the camera (and sometimes also flash) with light beams or motion sensors, but without the fancy swivelling face recognition stuff.

    Philip-Lorca diCorcia's famous defense of a lawsuit filed by one of his unwitting subjects springs to mind. Releases are not required for art, at least not in the US and most of Canada, UK, etc. diCorcia made hundreds of thousands of dollars from just one of his photographs and still won the lawsuit filed by the subject.

    Whether it's creative or not… I don't know, there's something to be said for the result being the only thing that matters, but in most cases the result looks about as random and pointless as you would expect.

  • http://www.mikemurrowphotography.com/blog mikemurrow

    interesting innovation. could be fun. but why not just harvest stills from CCTV cameras on ATMS and Parking garages?

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Those don't “intelligently” photograph, nor do they have the same quality as the sony cameras that you would attach to the dock.

    This thing only photographs faces and composes the shot before doing so.

    I guess those would be the main differences.

  • http://www.erif.org/ Kaolin Fire

    Very cool–though if you did leave it on the street (locked up, whatever), you wind up with a bunch of photos you can't use for anything (how would you ever go about tracking down model releases?) No?

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    You don't need a model release unless you plan on somehow making money from the shots. I was thinking more of posting them to your blog or flickr.

  • http://www.asianramblings.com/ Stevo

    You would only need model releases if the images were to be used in advertising/editorial. For documentary/street photography books or photo essays, flickr, blogs, etc. you don't require releases.

  • http://mute.rigent.com/ Miles

    'Proper' art photographers have been using a manual version of this technique for yonks. By that I mean they use automatic setups on the street, triggering the camera (and sometimes also flash) with light beams or motion sensors, but without the fancy swivelling face recognition stuff.

    Philip-Lorca diCorcia's famous defense of a lawsuit filed by one of his unwitting subjects springs to mind. Releases are not required for art, at least not in the US and most of Canada, UK, etc. diCorcia made hundreds of thousands of dollars from just one of his photographs and still won the lawsuit filed by the subject.

    Whether it's creative or not… I don't know, there's something to be said for the result being the only thing that matters, but in most cases the result looks about as random and pointless as you would expect.

  • http://www.mikemurrowphotography.com/blog mikemurrow

    interesting innovation. could be fun. but why not just harvest stills from CCTV cameras on ATMS and Parking garages?

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    Those don't “intelligently” photograph, nor do they have the same quality as the sony cameras that you would attach to the dock.

    This thing only photographs faces and composes the shot before doing so.

    I guess those would be the main differences.

  • Anonymous

    I�ve bookmarked this because I found it interesting. I would be very interested to hear more news on this. Thanks!

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    inder
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