Jim Golden takes pictures of products, sometimes all by themselves. Other times he assembles incredible collections of everyday objects and antiquated technologies into stunning spreads, like this painstakingly placed array of retro video game systems.Golden's latest project is called Relics of Technology, and it's a bit of both. Collecting bits and pieces of obsolete technology like floppy disks and Betamax tapes, he's assembled some into pleasing patterns like his previous work. But he's also taken single, iconic pieces of bygone tech and brought them to life with some of the highest quality animated GIFs you've ever seen. It's one thing to see a still image of a rotary phone, but another entirely to remember — or realize — how the receiver would physically jump in response to an incoming call."The seeds for the Relics of Technology project started when I found a brick cellphone at a thrift store in rural Oregon," says Golden. "Since finding it, similar bits and pieces of old technology and media kept grabbing my attention. The fascination was equal parts nostalgia for the forms, and curiosity as to what had become of them. One thing led to another and I was on the hunt for groups of media and key pieces of technology, most of which have now been downsized to fit in the palms of our hands. These photos are reminders that progress has a price and our efforts have an expiration date."Click on image titles (like "Reel-to-Reel Tape Deck" below) for the original full-size animated GIFs.
"A beautiful, simple, well-colored object to photograph. To me this is the essence of this era for tech. It was also the impetus to make the GIFs, I turned it on and it worked great."
Why not an older typewriter? "Mostly the coloring, and it's an earlier electric model... a lot of these objects were chosen for their aesthetics as much as their functionality."
There's no personal significance to the telephone number. "It's the number that it came with!"
"My father was a pretty serious amateur photographer and always shot slide film, so we'd have these great slide shows of fall foliage or his travels. They all just glowed, and I was mesmerized: the dim lights, the hum of the projector, the smell of the fan, the colors."
As popularized by Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, the 1987 film.
- 8" floppy disks "I remember seeing these in WarGames. I was 10, and it had a big influence on me wanting to get into computers."
- Punch cards "Punch cards have been in service for over 100 years, were responsible for Y2K, caused a presidential election to go sideways. It's a piece of cardboard with holes in it that control machinery. Amazing."
- 5.25" floppy disks
- 3.5" floppy disks "I love this image for the color and the pattern. What an improvement over 5.25" disks, you could just throw them in a bag. They're rigid, smaller, they came in colors, what's not to like?"
- 7" vinyl records "I collected and traded hardcore and punk 7-inch records as a kid. I wanted to include 7-inch records because although vinyl is having a resurgence of sorts, 7-inch vinyl isn't."
- Video game ROM cartridges "These are from a Magnavox Odyssey2 gaming system, but the technology was universal for all those early 8-bit gaming consoles - Atari 2600, Intellivision, ColecoVision, NES, etc. The Nintendo 64 was the last gaming console to use ROM carts."
- Zip disks Originally supposed to be the successors to floppy disks, they held 100MB each, which seemed like a lot at first. They were eclipsed by USB flash drives.
- Betamax Betamax may have lost the war against VHS...
- VHS ...but both were eclipsed by optical discs.