Serpent Blog

The End of the Line 
When we think about technology and how it has changed us we tend to focus on those objects which play to that sci-fi romantic vision promised us in the movies and comic books. Dick Tracy's two-way wristwatch TV is a reality in the form of the new iPhone. Orwell's telescreen is frighteningly close to what we have in social media. Orson Scott Card's vision for the net was remarkably prescient. But we overlook the less sexy tools and inventions which have saved us from the toil and drudgery of hard labor. Consider the industrial clothes dryer.

When is the last time you've been to a laundromat? Or better still, when was the last time you saw a line of clothes hanging out to dry in the wind? Look at this thing. A heavy stainless steel mesh encased within a rotating drum that facilitates hot air circulation. The tumbling drum ensures wet clothes receive maximum exposure to hot air. What might take three to four hours fifty years ago is accomplished in thirty minutes and for under a dollar.

Consider the space-age design of what you see here. It could almost be the hubcap of a 1938 Hudson or the nose cone of a V1 rocket. It's an example of accidental beauty in design. Whoever it was, was not focusing on outward its appearance when it was designed. This product was not sold on a retail showroom floor and its customer was likely not browsing through catalogs while musing over images of open dryers. This image was rarely seen, except of course by those mothers, college students, bachelors, spinsters and winos who haunt the urban laundromats of America.

I was drawn to the forced perspective of this image. I stuck the camera into the drum. I used a 10-22mm wide angle lens; which really helped me achieve this effect of being sucked in. The three 'fins' pull me toward the big metal eye. The tiny holes feel like empty faces. An audience. An industrial beehive. And where was this made, this uncelebrated masterpiece of efficiency? I'm not sure. But I suspect this is American steel, as this dryer is at least thirty years old.

I could have spent the whole day in this laundromat. My photo safari began here, in North Beach, but this is where I found the most inspiring image. Now I want to do a whole series on laundromats.

[ view entry ] ( 10047 views )   |  permalink  |  related link  |   ( 3 / 6052 )

<<First <Back | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Next> Last>>