Ever wanted to see exactly what was inside a fire extinguisher? Or an old phone? There is a certain child-like joy in taking something apart to see how it works. I certainly took apart my fair share of gadgets and appliances as a kid. Photographer and master disassembler Todd McLellan certainly seems to have lost none of his childhood fascination with the objects we often take for granted. His new book ‘Things Come Apart’ exposes the inner workings of 50 objects and 21,959 individual components. The book presents a fascinating view of items such as chainsaws, bicycles and espresso machines, transforming ordinary objects into works of art.
“Things come apart” is the continuation of the Canadian photographer’s “disassembly” series. The book presents two views of each object. First we see the product clinically dismantled down to all its myriad parts, laid out and organized in a precise and formal way by function. Creating an intriguing recontextualized image of each product. Then in a second shot, we see a high speed shot of all the parts in a glorious free fall, as if the object has been artfully dropped from a great height.
The selection of products is a mix of iconic design classics and modern. From a vintage Pentax camera to a Blackberry phone, from an iPad to a grand piano. Contrasting the permanence of vintage machines built several decades ago—sturdy gadgets meant to last and be repaired—with today’s manufacturing trend of built in obsolescence.
Every photograph in the series holds it’s own fascination. Although the highlight for me is the disassembled Zenith CH 650 aircraft, or maybe that’s just the childhood Airfix modeller in me.