With the latest Apple releases, so too will come the flood of YouTube videos of folks “testing” the new devices in all sorts of precarious scenarios (submerging your new iPhone in a vat of soda, then freezing it for 12 hours, anyone?). New Zealand-born, Brooklyn-based photographer/artist Henry Hargreaves (whose stellar work we’ve discussed here and here) takes a more cerebral approach to a practice that is no less cringe-inducing to us gadget geeks. Hargreaves, along with his stylist partner Caitlin Levin, whose incredible collaborations almost always employ food as the medium, juxtaposes said electronic devices with fast food in their series Deep Fried Gadgets. While we do shudder slightly at the sight of intentionally defacing these gizmos that we hold in such high regard, we certainly appreciate the concept and commentary, not to mention the fascinatingly engaging visuals. In Hargreaves’s own words, “I like to play with food and the juxtaposition of different worlds. I found a video of some Japanese kids trying to deep fry a PSP and eat it, it didn’t work and they made a mess of it, but I loved the idea and thought it could be expanded and photographed in a beautiful way. Electronics have become almost a holy device, the way a new apple device sends people out of their minds. But as soon as the next model comes out the last is immediately forgotten. This is a commentary about the similarities between tech culture and fast food. Quickly devoured and then discarded because of our appetite for the newest product.”
In case you’re not aware, there’s a new niche of photography on the rise, “smartphone photography”. With Apple’s recent announcement of yet more improvements to the already outstanding iPhone camera, this new brand of photography should come as no surprise. Though smartphone cameras don’t (yet) rival the quality of digital SLRs, they have come a long way, and there’s something to be said for their accessibility and convenience. So, it’s no wonder visual artists are compelled to simply reach in their pocket when it’s time to capture some creative brilliance. New Jersey-based visual artist/photographer/college student Adam Hillman is a perfect example. While the quality of his conceptual thinking and execution are rooted in traditional visual art as we know it, part of what defines Hillman’s work is his use of his smartphone. For one, his photos are unedited… what you see is what you get. And with a broadcast vehicle (the great big internet) basically integrated into his tool of choice (smartphone), the accessibility of his work is a key part of its appeal. Hillman’s appreciation for modern art is clear, and his use of color and order are a real draw for us (see previous posts here and here and here). We will be interested to see how Hillman’s work evolves over time. From the look of it, he will be making a name for himself well beyond these early works.