Israeli photographer Gabi Menashe loves outdated artifacts so much, he takes them apart, “one bolt, spring, button at a time,” and then artfully assembles the pieces for photographs published on his website Taking Apart.
Long since replaced with iPhones, DSLRs, and iPods, old mechanical phones, minoltas and walk-mans are still available for purchase at old markets throughout Israel.
Menashe enjoys browsing various flea markets on Fridays he says, in pursuit of vintage goods. He prefers to buy them in quantity and is only interested in items that are strictly mechanical.
“Anything I buy has to meet the same criteria: It has to be a mechanical object comprised of several parts – and the more the merrier,” writes the former photojournalist. “It can be old phones, cameras or clocks, the possibilities are endless.”
In contrast with commissioned projects, Menashe says he can pursue this new-found passion of his just for the sake of pure enjoyment. And for the record, the fun lies in the disassembly. He doesn’t even pretend to try to reassemble the parts.
“Naturally, taking things apart knowing you don’t have to put them back together has its therapeutic values… I do it at all hours of the day, be it first thing in the morning or very late at night.”
While artists around the globe promote upcycling as a waste management solution that discourages use of raw materials in creative endeavors, Taking Apart comprises a unique approach to drawing awareness to our overflowing landfills.
There is no indication that the artist has an environmental agenda, but one thing is clear: the project reveres the mechanical artifacts he finds, cleans, disassembles, painstakingly re-assembles and then photographs.
“We may live in the age of smartphones and digital books and every day we are amazed by some new application, but believe me when I tell you, nothing beats the sense of awe you fell after taking apart an old watch and realizing what really made it tick,” writes Menashe.
“I can’t even begin to describe the admiration I have for the people who designed and built such intricate devices.”
Images via Gabi Menashe/Taking Apart