I am a big proponent of the idea that the world, particularly the creative world, is built on remixes of old ideas and influences of our places and cultures that we grow up in. Anyone who has watched the excellent documentary series Everything is a Remix by New York based filmmaker Kirby Ferguson can see where I am coming from on this. Apple has built an entire industry and brand out of this, Led Zepplin became famous by rehashing old blues songs, and our particular avenue of photography is built on the shoulders of the giants who came before us. Not to discredit those creating new works at all, but it must be understood that there is influence and collaboration (intentionally or not) in everything that we do. Camera design is no different.
The device shown above however, is not the one introduced by the internationally famous popstar. That is a device I will get to in just a minute. Will.i.am announced today his remixed take on the phone photography craze that has swept across the world, introducing the foto.sosho:
With smartphones constantly on our person and ready to take amazing images in the hands of skilled photographers (Annie Leibovitz can attest to this), camera phones are a major market for camera makers that has been sadly underserved in their most recent offerings. A lot of great products are on the market right now that make use of these versatile cameras such as the olloclip and the Schnider Optics iPro lens system. However, most of these items merely accessorize our cameras on our phones.
While this may seem like a pretty piece of equipment in some misguided socialite’s mind, I have yet to be convinced that it will be the answer to everyone’s desire to pull more from the devices that are continually becoming our second brain. It definitely does not do that beautifully even. It will obviously take a bit handling to see what this has to offer over it’s competitors, but I am not expecting much from this uniquely atrocious phone attachment.
However, I really would rather see the concept introduced last year by the Artefact Group that made an impressive semi-functional (albeit faked screen images) debut at CES 2011. The device was a concept, and no where near a production piece, but it still makes an impressive show of potential that is housed in our pocket wunder-phones.
The thing that bothers me about Will.i.am’s device is that it takes this concept and really falls short of that true potential. Another bulky and ugly body that attempts to channel the design of “vintage” cameras as the v.4 model name suggests, and just providing a interchangeable lens mount and a few extra apps for the phone to interact with the attachment really doesn’t justify the price tag. Not to mention there is no compatibility with the iPhone 5 until later on next year.
Here’s the product pitch video for the WVIL Camera from the Artefact Group’s site, for a little more to drool over what true potential is to be had in our smartphones:
Even though the pitch video makes the camera out to be the ultimate Myspace self-portrait device, there is so much more to be had in this concept. The WVIL was such a great idea, and really needs to be showcased on Kickstarter or the like and given the ability to have a chance at some shelf life. Give me this device please, I’m begging you Artefact, if nothing else than to show a pop star that truly innovative camera design is best left to truly innovative people.
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