Visiting a friend recently, I noticed a rather beautiful, scruffy old typewriter in the corner under the stairs. When I asked about it she replied that it was about to go back up the attic again so I asked her if I could take it away for a bit and photograph it. So it has been sat in my garage for a few days until last night, when I took around 150 images. I also did a bit of geeky internet searching and found out that it is an Imperial Model 50 which was made around 1927-37 and considered rather good!
The finish on the metal is really interesting – a brainlike or coral reef texture:
Anyway, I kind of fell in love with it as I was taking these images; it kept changing its nature as I closed in on it, with it’s elegant decay and fluff gathering abilities, it turned from a typewriter into abandoned agricultural machinery, an early mechanised weaving loom into instrument of torture, and finally into a sculptural memorial of obsolete technology. I have selected a few of my favourites here, and the rest will be uploaded onto Flickr eventually.
Then there’s the typographic bit – well, there’s always a typographic bit isn’t there? Gill Sans just looks so good here:
And just a few more!
As I was finishing, I began to play a little more. I am currently encouraging my students to consider image making as something other than taking photographs, and using cameras to create effects, being less precise and expecting a few happy accidents along the way, so I decided to follow my own advice. This is a selection of the results! (If it isn’t doing anything, click on it to see the animation…)
So thanks Michelle, it can now go back up into the attic, but don’t forget about it…
UPDATE: I tried to get a full set of character imprints from the typewriter this week, but sadly the mechanism that propells the main roller is jammed solid. A friend is going to give it a clean up and try to get it working again!