Skip to main content

Reboot: these stunning still-life photos will take you back to the future

Share this story

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.

  • Reel-to-reel tape deck

    Reel to reel

    "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."

  • Electric typewriter


    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."

  • Rotary phone

    Rotary phone

    There's no personal significance to the telephone number. "It's the number that it came with!"

  • Slide projector

    Slide projector

    "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."

  • Super 8 film projector

    Film projector
  • Brick phone

    Brick phone

    As popularized by Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, the 1987 film.

Jim Golden's Relics of Technology


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."