Another side project : the photo-mirror

Photo taken by a photo-mirror at La Scène

Ax­el, a long-­time friend, changed his pro­fes­sion­al ori­en­ta­tion a few years ago to launch “La Scène” in Aix-en-Provence. It is a fam­i­ly friend­ly place where you can spend a mo­ment af­ter work dur­ing the week, over a drink and some tapas. There are con­cert­s, the­atri­cal im­pro­vi­sa­tions and much more, as La Scène is in­tend­ed to be a place for artis­tic events and much more.


With one of his ac­quain­tances who hap­pened to be a pho­tog­ra­pher, Ax­el has in­te­grat­ed a pho­to­graph­ic mir­ror, low-tech de­scen­dant of the “pho­to booth­s” that you have cer­tain­ly used dur­ing a wed­ding or an­oth­er fes­tive even­t.

The main idea is to al­low peo­ple to take pic­tures of them­selves in the evening, but in the eclec­tic, retro-­grand­moth­er and res­o­lute­ly low-tech style from La Scène. Thus a so­lu­tion with­out a elec­tron­ic dis­play, with­out diodes, with­out lights and with­out coloured plas­tics has been de­signed. The in­te­gra­tion car­ried out at La Scène is par­tic­u­lar­ly suc­cess­ful. The cam­era is set­up be­hind a large mir­ror in a frame with gold­en mould­ings, the tain of which has been re­moved in the mid­dle in or­der to al­low the cam­era to see through it.

Integration of the photo-mirror in La Scène

In­te­gra­tion of the pho­to-mir­ror in La Scène

The cam­era is a Nikon 3100, equipped with an 18-55mm lens and an ex­ter­nal flash.

A but­ton at the end of a ca­ble al­lows cus­tomers to trig­ger the cam­er­a. the whole things pro­duces this kind of pro­fes­sion­al qual­i­ty pho­to:

Photos taken by the "Alice" photo-mirror at La Scène

Pho­tos tak­en by the “Al­ice” pho­to-mir­ror at La Scène

How­ev­er, a num­ber of ad­di­tion­nal fea­tures were ex­pect­ed for such an en­vi­ron­men­t:

  • al­low to re­trieve the pho­­tos in or­der to project them on a gi­ant screen in the main room (web slideshow pro­vid­ed),

  • al­low cus­­tomers to view the pho­­tos on their smart­­phone,

  • up­­load the pho­­tos to flickr or to an FTP site to make them avail­able to the pub­­lic the day af­ter,

  • add a text and/or graph­ic wa­ter­­mark to each pho­­to.

Integration of the photo-mirror at La Scène

In­te­gra­tion of the pho­to-mir­ror at La Scène. The white cir­cle above the mir­ror is the flash.

Up­on Ax­el’s re­quest, I de­vel­oped a small box based on a Rasp­ber­ry Pi that con­nects to the cam­era via an USB ca­ble and to the lo­cal wifi in or­der to pro­vide these fea­tures. If you want to get a more pre­cise idea, the us­er doc­u­men­ta­tion is vis­i­ble here.

Technical Side

The cho­sen Rasp­ber­ry Pi is a 3B+ mod­el which has the par­tic­u­lar­i­ty of hav­ing an in­te­grat­ed wifi. The wifi is con­fig­ured to ac­cess the LAN and to pro­vide a a cap­tive por­tal al­low­ing cus­tomers to ac­cess pho­tos from their own smart­phone. The OS is Arch lin­ux, con­fig­ured to use the repos­i­to­ry http://­tardis­.tiny-vp­s.­com/aar­m/ in or­der to be able to ob­tain a known and test­ed con­fig­u­ra­tion.

The soft­ware (pho­to man­ag­er and web in­ter­face) is writ­ten in python 3.7.

The oth­er soft­ware used are:

  • gpho­­to2 (and its python bind­ing) to re­trieve the pho­­to­s,

  • dns­­masq + hostapd + ip­t­a­bles + ngn­inx for the cap­­tive por­­tal,

  • sphinx for doc­u­­men­­ta­­tion. Robot­frame­­work cou­­pled with se­le­ni­um are used to au­­to­­mat­i­­cal­­ly ex­­tract screen­shots from the con­­fig­u­ra­­tion web ap­­pli­­ca­­tion,

  • si­­gal to gen­er­ate the pho­­to gallery,

  • py.test for test­ing,

  • bot­­tle for the web serv­er of the con­­fig­u­ra­­tion and ad­min­is­­tra­­tion ap­­pli­­ca­­tio,

  • di­a­po­ra­­ma as a javascript li­brary for the an­i­­ma­­tion of the slideshow (im­ages are sent on de­­mand from the serv­er via we­b­­sock­­et­s)

  • grafana, prometheus and prometheus push gate­way for mon­i­­tor­ing,

  • tor to pro­­vide ssh ac­cess for main­te­­nance and trou­bleshoot­ing (at least on the test ver­­sion of La Scène),


Here af­ter is a ran­dom sam­ple of the pho­tos tak­en at La Scène:

Quelques photos au hasard.

They are all vis­i­ble on the Flickr space of La Scène.

And then what?

A num­ber of im­prove­ments or new fea­tures are planned. I al­so con­sid­er switch­ing the soft­ware li­cence to open-­source in or­der to to ben­e­fit oth­er peo­ple.

To be con­tin­ued…

Feel free to con­tact me if you need more in­for­ma­tion.