Monday, April 25, 2011

Television's Ephemeral Art: 'Click,' and It's Gone

"Television 'Deaths' Become Morbid Obsession for Berlin Artist"
Alice Vincent, Underwire, Wired (April 23, 2011)

"These images may look like the product of hours spent on Photoshop, but they’re actually memento mori of the kind of TV sets your parents (or even grandparents) grew up with.

"Retro televisions sparked an interest for Berlin graphic designer Stephan Tillmans after he noticed the brightly colored picture breakdown when certain screens were switched off. After much experimentation with old televisions, Tillmans realized that every old television has its own 'death,' and, with enough patience, this could become an intriguing photographic subject.

"What started as a happy discovery has turned into a kind of expertise for Tillmans, who explains to that 'some televisions give better results that others. The TVs I photograph are of different models and sizes.'

"Choosing which televisions will provide the right results is somewhat of a fine art, as television deaths that appear photogenic initially may not through a camera lens...."

There's quite a bit of work involved in getting a photo like the two in the post. For starters, Tillmans hauls an old-tech television up to his fourth-floor apartment. If that's British usage, the Lemming thinks that's fifth-floor for Americans.

And the Lemming remembers the 'tube' television sets. Those things were heavy. Then, once in place, it can take Tillman 800 tries to get one photograph that's 'art' quality.

The article includes a link to more of Tillman's images, in Wired UK's gallery.

The Lemming remembers the flash-and-fade of old television sets - and other variations on that particular tube technology. It's nice to have some of those moments caught, enhanced, and preserved: But the Lemming's also glad that television technology has progressed since 'the good old days.'

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