The walk man: Israeli artist digs into vintage gadgets
Former photojournalist Gabi Menashe finds redemption in documenting the innards of old dial phones, Minoltas and tape recorders.By Ido Kenan | Aug. 24, 2013 Haaretz
Old dial phone Photo by Gabriel Menashe
One of the gadget geeks’ favorite porn genres is Teardown, where gadgets are taken apart, disassembled to their basic components, and then photographed. In the “Taking apart” project, Israeli photographer Gabi Menashe does that to old gadgets − including a rotary dial telephone, a Sony Walkman, an alarm clock and a Minolta Hi-Matic-E camera − all of which he cleans, photographs, disassembles, organizes neatly and photographs the parts to create an anatomical poster showing the gadget next to its organs.
“I have two clear rules: I never break anything, only what I can take apart. And it’s important that the product is in one piece beforehand, because I also shoot it before taking it apart,” says Menashe, who works for the Israeli web magazine Xnet. The project was born of his longing for his former job as a photojournalist and his hobby of wandering around flea markets. “I’m able to find those products really cheap − tens of shekels [10 shekels equal about $2.80]. And disassembling them is fascinating, because there’s the philosophical aspect and the curiosity aspect. You see how complex the technology was compared to today’s all-electronic technology − the mechanics of the products − you can’t believe how many springs they have, and you know that if one is missing, it won’t work. It astonishes me every time, how it was even designed in such a small casing, be it a clock, a camera, etc. The philosophical aspect is that it makes me feel I’m giving the products a life for the last time, before they’re discarded. It’s really nice to arrange them in some composition and then shoot. By the way, I don’t try, and I doubt that I could, reassemble them.
Ten photos have been posted to Taking apart’s site, and Menashe keeps combing the flea markets for more items; he also searches secondhand Internet sites and Facebook. “Now I’m working on a typewriter, which I will be disassembling soon, it’s up next, and there’s a VCR.”
On the site he writes: “We may live in the age of smartphones and digital books and every day we are amazed by some new application, but believe me when I tell you, nothing beats the sense of awe you feel after taking apart an old watch and realizing what really made it tick. I can’t even begin to describe the admiration I have for the people who designed and built such intricate devices.”
Menashe didn’t start the project as a commercial venture, but he was delighted when people who liked the posters started
Ingredients:1 cup chopped beets
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup raw tahini
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
2 TBS. Tamari / soy sauce
1 tsp. chopped horseradish / pinch Wasabi
1/2 tsp. Atlantic salt
Blend everything in the blender.