The saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” is certainly illustrated here in this picture series conceptualized by artist and photographer Todd McLellan. The idea is to disassemble as many gadgets and devices possible and photograph them in an utter state of arranged disarray, falling apart, or sometimes even thrown in the air. Originally dubbed Disassembly Series, the portfolio was later renamed Things Come Apart. It contains objects that are both retro and modern, items that we use in the course of our daily lives. It is also now a book published by Thames & Hudson.
“This book makes visible the inner workings of some of the world’s most iconic designs. These disassembled objects show that even the most intricate of modern technologies can be broken down and understood, while beautifully illustrating the quality and elegance of older designs,” says the blurb on McLellan’s website. He breaks down these objects into their most basic, individual components.
McLellan is in charge of every step of this process. He disassembles everything, arranges the little parts and does the shooting himself. It is very much a learning process for him as he gets to know every nut and bolt of each device intimately. To photograph the pieces he uses a Hasselblad 555ELD with a Phase digital back. He augments the equipment with three high-speed strobe packs and four 3200kJ Broncolor flash heads to shoot the falling apart photos.
It is a tedious process that has McLellan laying each piece out and dropped thru the frame as many times as needed until he gets the exact image. He has taken apart quite a lot of objects that range in size. He has disassembled stuff as small as phones and cameras, and objects as big and intricate as a piano. Ofcourse, he is smart enough to know not to torment himself with putting things back together.
Here’s a behind the scenes look: