Many of us spend our lives on our Apple Watches and iPhones, sharing our best moments and things with them, and those experiences and memories are often reflected in the scratches fingerprints that accumulate on their cases. A new photography project by New York City-based artist Elvin Hu tries to shine a light to those underrepresented human side of technology.
When the companies are on a campaign, this actually depicts technology products in an idealized state. But we all know that, the devices never stay pristine after more than a few minutes out of the box. These marks humans leave behind, are worth celebrating. “Just as no two fingerprints are identical, mass-produced products become personal and individualized after they get used”, Hu says.
When trying to make a photo study a thing, the first step is to gather the old and well-loved devices as subjects for the whole shooting. Hu has had an affinity for Apple – he first learned English by watching Apple Keynotes – so the project was a fun challenge.
The old devices have strong feelings of nostalgia from those who’ve seen the photos. Hu explains that images of the same products in perfect condition don’t elicit the same emotions. It’s the wear and tear that connects people with their memories of the devices.
Each product was photographed with a Canon 5D Mark IV tethered wirelessly to an iPad Pro. Hu studied Apple’s product photography style with the intention of evoking the same look. At the end, the result is reminiscent of the classic iPod ads and more recent imagery for the Apple Trade In program, which uses worn devices to show products ready to be upgraded.
After editing the images on a MacBook Pro, the results were created of a scuffed iPod Touch, cracked Apple Watch, worn Apple leather iPhonecase, and an iPad Pro. Hu posted the prints around Brooklyn to simulate a legitimate ad campaign, where passers have been stopping to look and take pictures.
The whole photography project is displayed in The Cooper Union at 7East 7th Street in New York City. The gallery is open from May 20th until June 9th, Tuesday through Sunday. You can find Hu’s work in the whole project and his photography albums on his portfolio site and on Instagram.
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