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Reconnecting Time: Photos of Old Mechanics Unzipped

vintage camera deconstructed

No, you didn’t miss any memos about odd-looking zippered cameras that you could have stolen from your grandmother’s collection. That’s because the vintage pieces photographed in this series entitled Reconnecting Time were taken apart one by one and embedded with a metal zipper by Guangzhou Art Academy student Hu Shaoming over the course of four months.

“It was just homework,” he tells CoolHunting, “but I always put a lot of energies and take the maximum out of these tasks.” He deconstructed a total of four objects which he obtained from four different countries: Japan, France, the UK and the US.

Why embed a zipper of all things? “I used the zipper to open a window on these great industrial discoveries of humanity,” says Hu. “I feel like I’m bringing history back to the present. Breaking the objects into parts, reassembling them, inlaying a zipper, it’s been a way to communicate with time and reconnect with the past. It’s often been a challenging work because I also had to preserve the nature of the original objects, without damaging or corrupting them.”

side view of vintage camera from 20s 30s

Hu works with metals regularly and has always been captivated by the complexity of mechanical intricacies. “I’ve always loved weird objects,” he says. “Old clocks, cameras, phones. it’s amazing to me how these objects from the past can have such an exquisitely precise composition. I used to paint before, but it didn’t fully satisfy my need for a more tangible media, that’s the reason why I decided to study sculpting.”

photo of old telephone

photo of vintage clock

All four objects are from different decades: the phone is from the 1910s; the clock is from the 1920s; the camera is from the 1930s; and the portable film camera is from the 1940s.

The art academy Hu attends happens to be in Guangzhou, which is where one of the biggest trading ports of China is situated, making it home to factories for anything from shoes to digital products. I’ll bet you have something within reach right now that comes from this very area. The richness in material, machinery and facilities makes Guangzhou an ideal place for budding artists to use as inspiration, and the proximity to these resources helps them refine their skills and techniques as well.

artist hu shaoming standing next to his pieces

If you happen to be in the area, drop by the Guangzhou Art Academy. Hu’s Reconnecting Time project is on permanent display, along with some other student works.

Interested in seeing more of Hu’s work? Visit this website called Jue.so.

Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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