Back in the day, you just couldn't go to a European sidewalk cafe without a bloody man collapsing at your table and pressing a roll of microfilm into your hand, urging you to keep it safe while an unseen assailant cut his final sentence short with some kind of ranged weapon. Nowadays, of course, your average crossbow-bolt-riddled spy's whispered last words would probably be the password for his Instagram account. But back then it was always microfilm.
That monopoly aside, storage media devices were once a varied and peculiar assemblage of objects. I was reminded of this by coming across the "Relics of Technology" project, shot by Oregon-based photographer Jim Golden, as seen below. (The awesome game consoles shot atop this entry belong to Golden's "Collections" project.)
Aesthetically, Beta was betta
Aesthetically, Beta was bettaTo designers who worked in the '90s—remember shuttling those absurdly-large Syquest disks around? The elation at having 44MB of capacity in your bag, and the feeling of scoring an 88MB disk? Marveling at how small the Zip and later Jaz drives were, and their then-insane 100MB and 1GB capacities?
Golden is no hobbyist, by the way, in case the quality of the photos didn't tip you off; the award-winning shooter has fifteen years of experience in advertising photography, retouching and visual effects. But "Relics" came about as a result of personal passion, not client work:
The seeds for the Relics of technology project started when I found a brick cell phone at a thrift store in rural Oregon. Since finding it, similar bits and pieces of old technology and media kept grabbing my attention. The fascination was equal parts nostalgia for the forms, and curiosity as to what had become of them. One thing led to another and I was on the hunt for groups of media and key pieces of technology, most of which have now been downsized to fit in the palm of our hand. These photos are reminders that progress has a price and our efforts have an expiration date.
You can check out the rest of the "Relics" project here, some 21 shots in total. There is no microfilm, however; Golden probably realizes that stuff'll get you shot.