Vintage Technology as Art?

Obsolete Technology: 16mm Movie Film
Obsolete Technology: 16mm Movie Film

All this stock photo stuff can get to you….. most of it is well worn cliches. I guess not all of my stock photography is very cliche- but none-the-less I’ve been itching to do something related to my niche “Silicon Valley” theme.

35mm Movie Film Canister

As such, I’ve started a theme: obsolete technology.

Of late I’ve been photographing movie film ephemera. I picked up a few rolls canisters of movie film from Last Chance Mercantile in the Monterey Bay area. Basically it’s a thrift store at a garbage dump. They just pull the interesting stuff out of the trash and sell it.

16mm Movie Film Canister

At one point LCM had a stack of films, complete with the chrome film canisters in green cardboard carrying cases. At the time I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. But they were interesting. Interesting in an analog sort of way. Like the cases had a patina, the chrome had scrapped off the edges of the canisters. And most interestingly they had lots of handwriting and labels.

This is an ongoing project- I’ll report back with more work.

 

 

The Reel Deal

And speaking of vintage technology…. with the lightbox setup already in place, I figured there were some other vintage tech items to photograph.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

I’d recently purchased a 16mm film reel from Urban Ore as a prop. So I tried a few of the yellow/blue polarizing filter shtick like with the cassettes.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

The effect isn’t as dramatic, because there isn’t enough of the clear plastic to do the rainbow effect. But I did like the general hues given the background.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

I also really like the plain pattern of the film with the backlight peeking through and the slight curve of the lines.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

I also had a good time playing around with the film leader.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

Unfortunately, my light table is too small to show the entire reel.

16mm Movie Reel
16mm Movie Reel

Dropping a color gel behind the setup added a bit of drama.

16mm Movie Reel

Looking at some of these, I thought they might work well as book covers, so I made up a simple mock book jacket as a sample of how I think these images could be used.