For many of us, our iPhones and Apple Watches represent far more than tools used for work or entertainment. We share our lives with these devices, and experiences and memories made with them are reflected in scratches and fingerprints that accumulate in their cases. A new photography project by New York City-based artist Elvin Hu is attempting to shine a light on the under-represented human side of technology.
Advertising campaigns typically show technology products in an idealized state. But we all know these devices will never remain untouched for more than a few minutes out of the box. The badges and missing people leave behind are worth celebrating." Just as no two fingerprints are identical, mass product products become personal and personalized after they are used. Hu says.
When you started the photo studio, the first step in collecting examples of old or beloved Apple products was the theme of the shooting. Hu has long been a member of Apple – he first learned English by looking at Apple keynotes – so the project was a fun challenge.
The worn devices have provoked strong feelings of nostalgia from those who have seen t he pictures. Hu explains that images of the same products in perfect condition do not evoke the same feelings. There are wear and tear that connect people with their memories of the units.
Each product was photographed with a Canon 5D Mark IV threaded wirelessly to an iPad Pro. Hu studied Apple's product shooting style with the purpose of producing the same look. The end result is reminiscent of classic iPod ads and newer images for the Apple Trade In program, which use worn devices to represent products that are ready to be upgraded.
After editing the photos on a MacBook Pro, prints were made by a scuffed iPod touch, cracked Apple Watch, worn Apple Leather iPhone case, and an iPad Pro. Hu wrote the prints around Brooklyn to simulate a legitimate ad campaign where passers-by have stopped to see and capture images.
The shooting project is currently appearing in The Cooper Union on 7 East 7th Street in New York City. The gallery is open from 20 May to 9 June, Tuesday to Sunday. House work on photography can be found on his portfolio page and on Instagram.
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