Saturday, November 27, 2010

No One's Watching

I've already mentioned my friend Bill Keaggy's pocket-sized photo book, 50 Sad Chairs, a bunch of times. Personally, I've always like photographing the broken, dilapidated, and abandoned. Not only have I been noticing more busted-ass chairs since Bill sent me his book, but I've been increasingly aware of a what I see as a peculiarly modern, urban blight: the abandoned television.

When I was a kid, we had an extra bedroom in our house which we called the "sitting room" for some reason. Calling it that made it seem fancier than it was, almost like calling it the "drawing room" or something. It was basically a guest room, with a fold-out bed, where my sisters and I would sometimes sleep if we were home sick from school. Why not stay in our bedrooms when we were sick? Because the sitting room had a bitchin' black and white TV, around maybe 15 inches diagonally. We'd watch Hogan's Heroes and Gomer Pyle after school.

I'm only bringing this up because it was a fucking black and white TV. Even in the early '80s, that shit was outdated. But it worked, so we kept it and used it. There was a newer RCA or Magnavox color behemoth downstairs, with the B&W model relegated to the kid's after school hangout. Nowadays--Jesus, just that word makes me feel like the old coot on the Pepperidge Farm commercial--when technology is outdated as soon as it's released, no one saves old TVs. Used to be if your TV broke, you took it to a repair shop to get it fixed. Now you leave it on the sidewalk, or recycle it--meaning it gets shipped to China and ends up being ripped apart, melted down, and dumped in a river. The street television is perhaps the saddest testimony to a disposable culture: what was once a 60 inch rear projection television that cost a month's salary is now an overgrown paperweight waiting for a drunk kid to shove his skateboard through.

So here's some sad TVs. (Most of these were shot with my horrible LG cell phone camera, which I've since gotten rid of.)
This one looks a lot like the sitting room TV of my youth:More to come.

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