When you see photos of classic cars from past decade, they're often beautifully restored, looking better than they did when they left the factory. No such love is given to old computers, as no experts in detailing a 1975 East German HDR 75 (left) exist. More to the point, most people don't care about old computers, let alone take the time to photograph them.
London-based photographer James Ball, however, does care. After gaining access to the computer dinosaurs possessed by the UK's National Museum of Computing and the Science Museum in the UK, Germany's Technical Collections of Dresden and California's Computer History Museum, Ball turned his lenses on ten of them. Ball–who goes by the nom de plume Docubyte—then collaborated with London-based production studio INK, who digitally retouched the shots to make the computers look new.
Featuring such famous machines as the IBM 1401 and Alan Turing's Pilot ACE, Guide to Computing showcases a minimalist approach to design that precedes even Apple's contemporary motifs.
ENDIM 2000 (year unknown)
PACE TR-48 (early 1960s)
ICL 7500 (1970s)
This colourful series of ten historic computers, created in collaboration between myself and retouching studio, INK documents the beginning of our computing history.
Harwell Dekatron (1951)
Control Data 6600 (1964)
IBM 1401 (1959)
What's more, the combination of photography and retouching techniques has resulted in something wholly unique: the ageing historical objects as photographed, have been 'digitally restored' and returned to their original form.
Pilot ACE (1950)
Meda 42TA (early 1970s)
IBM 729 (late 1950s)
As a number of these computers predate modern colour photography, Guide to Computing therefore showcases them in a never before seen context.
It is a bit ironic that these images were retouched using their technological descendants.