Early computers as objets d’art

Eye-catching design didn’t begin with Apple, as a new, digitally-aided photography series illustrates

“Dials and buttons, knobs and switches; they’re very charming,” says James Ball, the digital art director behind a new photography series called Guide to Computing, which celebrates early computers. Ball, who works under the pseudonym Docubyte, began the project after developing a fascination and affection for such retro devices.

“It’s rare now to find any machine that you can touch and interact with,” he says. “Computers now are all touch screens, slick and super-slim.” Ball feels that computers that pre-date the Apple era aren’t widely considered to be design pieces, and his nostalgia for this earlier, more “naive” aesthetic led him to seek out and photograph a range of machines that date from the latter half of the 20th century, representing them as if they were new and desirable products.

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