Vandalism or Public Service? New Project Aims to Eliminate Crappy Tourist Photos

If the major photography awards had a “service to mankind” category, the front-runner at this point would have to be #noshittyphotos, an inventive new project that aims to eliminate lousy vacation photos by telling tourists exactly where to stand to get a good shot of major attractions.

Art director Mimi Chan and copywriter Utsavi Jhaveri had seen one too many Instagram tragedies from popular tourist spots, so they created a stencil with two footprints and the legend: “Place feet, Point and Click.” Since then, they’ve gone around to various tourist spots in New York and San Francisco (Times Square, the Golden Gate Bridge) and painted the design on the optimum vantage point for that sight.


The recent graduates of Miami Ad School acknowledge that one person’s public service is another’s vandalism, and note that a number of stencils have already been covered over by New York anti-graffiti squads. But they advance a convincing greater-good argument on the project’s home page: “On the plus side, many tourists loved this idea. Hopefully we wake up to better Instagram feeds, no more fumbling tourists and #noshittyphotos.”

An Instagram search of the projects hashtag reveals one potential problem, however: More people seem to be taking photos of the stencils themselves than the sights they point to.

(via PSFK)

  • Leonardo Abreu


  • Jonathan Maniago

    I’m just waiting for this to backfire. The next challenge for shooters would be to take the crappiest, most awkward shots while standing in those spots.

  • David Campbell

    The worst thing that could happen would be for this thing (which is kind of elitist to begin with) to be tremendously successful. Then there will be a glut of mostly identical photos.

  • Uncle Roland

    So according to them, in an ideal world everyone takes photos from the exact same angle?

    Anyway instructions weren’t clear enough. Stood on the mark and took a photo of my feet.

  • photosforus

    This is an awesome idea!

  • theart

    #justbuythedamnpostcard would probably be a bigger public service.

  • Michael Palmer


  • Burnin Biomass

    Sure you can get them to stand there, but how do you stop them from taking the image with a Lomo?

  • krod2013

    “Come over here. Put your feet here. Look this direction. Use this scene mode, Orient your camera vertically, Press the shutter button. Congrats!! Now you have a photo that “We” think is good. Now you have the exact same photo as eeeeeverybody else!!!”

    They should position a stack of pre-printed 5×7’s at each location…or if you want a digital copy, have an address on the back where you can download that image as a JPG.

    Problem solved…no more bad tourist photographs

    My vote: vandalism and a horribly arrogant photo-snobby idea.

  • Larry Angier

    Sound’s like the solution to the “vandalism” is to create an app that ties into the GPS of most smart phones.

    The old solution would have been to simply sell a book showing where to set the tripod legs like Ansel Adams did in Yosemite back in the 20th century…

  • bob cooley

    Its a cute marketing gimmick, but this has been done many times before already on a more official basis – in many cities. Even Kodak did something similar in in photo-friendly tourist destinations.

    And it’s attempting to be edgy, a lot of tourists, especially those tourists traveling with children won’t appreciate the text “noshittyphotos”…

    The only things new in this project are the vandalism and the cursing. Don’t get me wrong, I live in NY and curse as much as any 3 sailors, but I bet had they forgone the ‘edgy’ hashtag, the city would likely have left the sprayed pieces alone.

    Law of unintended consequences at play :)

  • ralphie

    If you’d ever have gone to one of the Disney parks you’d have seen that they did the same thing a long time ago with their “Kodak Picture Spots.” If they were serious about this, maybe they could work with local tourist boards to actually place signs to avoid “defacing public property,” and pointing out how this might help a location.

  • Sanyo

    Lol soo stupid why bother with this! Dumb to even care about how crappy their photos are

  • mksystem

    Why this is ‘public service’? I see it as act of egocentrism: we are ‘artists’, we know better what good photo is. But they simply can’t imagine that this ‘crappy photo’ for a man who travel 10.000 miles to take it is something else.

    I don’t see this as ‘vandalism’ either. But I think that recent graduates of ad school should pack backpacks and travel to Europe, Asia, Australia or Africa, and try to take #noshittyphotos themselves first.

  • Richard Ford

    What a couple of conceited apendages. Let private people, in public do whatever the hell they want with their cameras in their own way. The gall of these two.

  • Will Mederski

    Angry hipsters make me laugh.

  • Will Mederski

    Also, found Mimi’s Instagram.
    Waddayaknow! It’s full of completely unoriginal selfies and and tourist shots.
    @mimimimilia and @utsavij (private)


  • matpratta

    Cool, now not only we will still have crappy photos, but now they will be from the exact same places and angles! lol

  • Gareth Davies FotografĂ­a

    Whatever happened to individuality and inspiring people to seek their own creative perspectives? They may just be surprised by the results! This is nothing more than a vandalistic and arrogant approach at trying to tell every camera owner (cell phone, point-and-shoot, SLR etc) “what is best”. And the time will come, when coach loads of japanese tourists swarm these “shoot here” spots and will result in potentially long queues and some disappointed tourists! Vastly overlooked! Sorry for being cynical, but this stinks.

  • Andrei

    Lol, so everyone has the same photo and angle. :)

  • pgb0517

    Be cool if they got arrested for vandalism.

  • Rach D

    If you go on Instagram and search the tag for noshittyphotos, a majority of the posts are of the stencil. It’s working!!

  • Petercmar

    Someone should spray paint on their foreheads, “Place pity here and sigh. #No more self-righteous photographers.”

  • zaki

    I agree with you. This is completely ridiculous and a barrier for creativity, not to mention condescending.

  • apmarina

    Disneyland has been doing this for years. They had little signs all over the park identifying Kodak picture spots. Of course now the spots have outlasted Kodak.

  • Not a hater.

    Pfft. Spoken by the guy who just warms his chair and spends all day commenting on a couple of kid’s efforts.

  • Marius Viken

    Look on the bright side. One step to the right or left and you’re unique!

  • Lukas Prochazka

    I couldnt said that better :) …its like stop taking your crapy picture and start taking our crapy pictures :D

  • Joe Gottago

    People should stand in those spots and then take a selfie!

  • Andoring

    It’s like an artistic version of “Totalalitarianism.” Not only do they say what we should do and where, they give us all a common enemy to hate: “the tourist.”

  • Mikey Harmon


  • Andoring


  • Brian Mittelstaedt

    The “Kodak Picture Spot” reinvented and made hip…

  • Jay

    Just visited Lombard Street for the first time, and among the hustle and bustle, I noticed this nice stamp of a public service. However, with all of the throngs of tourists and sight-seers standing obliviously in the middle of the intersection, it a) made this statement seem pretty sarcastic, and b) made all the Instagrammers and selfie-ers seem pretty derpy.

  • James

    I like the idea, they should have contacted the right people first, who knows, if they had worded it right, they might have gotten paid for it.