Anti-Photography Patent Shows a Device that Will Spoil a Paparazzo’s Day


There are those who don’t mind being photographed, those who do, and those who are photographed so often they can’t help but mind. Celebrities in particular must deal with an onslaught of photography every time they leave their home, and inventors Wilbert Leon Smith, Jr. and Keelo Lamance Jackson want to do something to help.

That’s why they invented a new anti-photography photo-ruining device that may wind up putting the paparazzi out of work.

The device is an anti-photo “gun” of sorts that will work with several different photo deterrent technologies:


Smith Jr. and Jackson got their inspiration from a patent filed all the way back in 2005 by Jeremy and Joseph Caulfield in Arizona. Theirs was a box that would fire off a flash every time it sensed another flash going off, effectively ruining photos.

Smith and Jackson’s device goes beyond that. According to the patent, theirs will be a handheld number that will rotate and emit “multiple deterrents” in the form of a focused beam of light, a strobe light and a flash.


By combining those and others not specified in the patent, they believe they can effectively ruin any photo taken while the device is on. Celebrities or their body guards would point the device at the general area of paparazzi, and the multiple types of light will “obscure” any images taken.

With Google Glass on its way, and cheaper alternatives sure to follow, the problem of being photographed when you don’t want to be is likely to expand beyond the rich and famous. Even now, Smith and Jackson see this device as being useful for much more than messing with paparazzi. In fact, the patent specifies no less than 49 uses, subuses and alternate devices that could prevent everyone from spys to the general public from taking photos.


To learn more about the device and check out some of the other ideas the inventors came up with for preventing unwanted photography, check out the full patent here.

(via The Guardian)

Image credit: Paparazzi by Gribiche

  • Debbie Kendall

    Very good idea, BUT for the strobe light.

    Very dangerous and I really hope they don’t legalise it. The strobe light could cause innocent people to have Epileptic Fits.

    In effect, it could kill.

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    This thing will have to have one hell of a battery and capacitor to keep up with the recharge rate of all the ‘razzi strobes.

  • chphotovideo

    Make it more difficult to take someones picture?? Now you will have 10x the cameras following you to get that shot!

  • chubbs

    Wouldn’t some sunglasses and a hat be simpler?

  • Mansgame

    So basically it’s a slaved flash?

  • junyo

    As opposed to the pre-existing flashes triggering it?

  • Kyle Sanders

    This also assume that the “offending” photographer is using a flash. Additionally, anyone brandishing such a device would practically be challenging anyone with a camera to take a picture!

  • hugh crawford

    a slave flash and something like an umbrella

    But really it is a patent on anything that can underexposed or overexpose or obscure a photograph and be worn on a person or set up as a fence. It’s a troll patent so if someone figures out a way to actually make a portable thing to underexpose or overexpose or obscure a person in a photo , these guys have it patented.

    The trolls waiting for someone to figure out how to make it work

    If someone actually tries what they were suggesting using the technology they are suggesting, people would take pictures of celebrities just to see spinning flashing umbrellas erupting from their clothing.

    Imagine the fun!
    Anyway it would be easy to defeat

  • Анатолий Таньков

    Useless device.
    Modern cameras are highly sensitive and can take photos without a flash.

  • Persio

    Not sure somebody went through all this trouble when they could just make a hat or a collar or something with several IR transmitters that will effectively jam the protected area on digital cameras…

  • Maverick

    use film

  • 9inchnail

    Of a moving person? At night? In a quality good enough to print in a magazine? Don’t think so.

  • Furunomoe

    Next time probably most paparazzis will be equipped with f/0.95 glasses.

    And don’t forget about the new sensor that capable of 1000 times more sensitivity compared to todays.

  • Theranthrope

    I giggled to myself at the thought of paparazzi using FILM cameras resurrecting the photographic dark arts of hypo-e and bump-processing techniques to get higher ISO (used to reduce exposure times for deep-sky astrophotography) for photographing DIFFERENT kinds of stars…

  • Kaemaril

    My guess for the people who’d snap these things up? The police. As we’ve been seeing for the last few years, they’re really camera-averse :)

  • Colin Nicholls

    So now when the paps’ do get their shot its worth more and they are gonna try harder and be more invasive to get it, as well as which celebrates are going to really carry these devices all the time? Still not as good as Daniel Radcliff, every night when exiting the theater he was performing at he worn the same hat and coat, so all the paps’ photos looked the same every day- Smart thinkning.

  • Mike


  • CrackerJacker

    The patent owners are way ahead of you:

    …a system and method in accordance with the present invention may be
    utilized to create an image distortion bombardment zone around an area
    of interest such as a classified, confidential, and/or sensitive area or
    event by use of a plurality of image distortion towers. For example, an area of interest may be an event, a crash site, a crime investigation zone, and a newsworthy scene.

    Yeah… can’t have those newsworthy scenes photographed…

  • kb

    Extra bonus stupid points for shaping it [vaguely] like a gun.

  • Anon

    Dont use a flash LOLLLLL

  • ME12321321321


  • Pat David

    I wonder how this patent works with prior art:

    Because that would be way more fun… :)

  • thingwarbler

    Oh, yes — wouldn’t it be so *very* tempting for the always transparency-averse cops to mount one of these on their patrol car so they could conveniently blank out pictures of their less-than-savory interactions with those they have been hired to serve and protect? Except… as far as I can tell from this, the gizmo would be pretty useless against video, no?

  • Truz Nad

    I can see their use by speeders to avoid photo radar

  • NeoTechni

    The device can be worn

  • NotSoSilentObserver

    While I appreciate your argument as someone who has seizures, please dont call them fits. Call them what they are… seizures.

  • parrothead123

    You must be having one right now if you believe that crap…

  • Charles

    go off camera flash (assistant lighting one angle) and stop down. :-)

  • Adrian from AL

    Does your vagina wear a pair of sunglasses and a hat when you get out of a car with a mini skirt on?

  • inthedesert

    They’re called panties, are you wearing yours?

  • rdwrt

    For to the chicago sun-times it’ll probably be good enough ;) And if you didn’t get a shot they’ll just use a screenshot of a previous TV appearance anyway.

  • NickyKing

    It’s not a strobe. Most likely a high powered light that emits wavelengths that we can’t see but the camera sensor can.

  • Stormin

    meh – old news, I saw this ACTUALLY used in Batman Dark Knight RIses

  • laura

    haha I know right…fits LOL

  • Edward Millership

    Two words – SPEED CAMERA..

  • D4

    OF course you take photos of a moving person with a flash and at night,your talking out your ARSE

  • D4

    * WITHOUT a flash *

  • SafetyKart

    This Seems To be a problem with the Photographers but then it is really good for privacy with intrusive elements rising in the society.