Do you have any fond childhood memories associated with classic television shows like The Three Stooges, Little House on the Prairie or Love Boat? If the answer to that question is an enthusiastic “Yes!” then you'll want to take a walk down memory lane with this series, called Abandoned Televisions, by Alex Beker. The Miami-based graphic designer/art director/photographer just dropped us an email to tell us about this new series that will, no doubt, awaken something inside of you.
“Abandoned Televisions triggers emotions arising from our memories of popular TV culture,” he says. “Street photography captures television sets left for dead because they are old, broken or soon to be replaced by more modern technology. They are resuscitated by incorporating a visual moment from a show broadcast when that television set was alive.
“Suddenly, a discarded black box dying on a sidewalk comes back to life, and so do we – to our past life. In an instant, we identify the show, its characters and maybe even a particular episode, and we are rejuvenated by the memory.
“We travel back to our younger years, recalling the house we used to live in, the room where the television set was, the chair we sat in to watch, the smells of our house, and those we watched the show with. A snapshot of popular culture tells a piece of our own personal story.”
When I asked Beker why he started this series, here is what he said. “I started Things I Saw Today (another photo series) over two years ago in Toronto, where I lived for 11 years, and now I'm doing it from Miami, where I've been living since July. Throughout this time, I've found many things waiting for the garbage truck or for someone to pick them up. TV sets were some of the items I kept seeing and every time I saw one, it reminded me of TV shows from the set's era. The shows from the 70s and 80s are incredibly universal. I used to watch them in Argentina, where I was born and lived until I was 33, and they resonate for people in Toronto and Miami as well.”
Did you notice that the shows match up with their setting? This was, of course, on purpose. “Every image has a different reason for its background,” he tells us. “It can be color, light, background or moments. For example, Mr. T is surrounded by cars because he's driving one. It made sense to have the Addams Family and Get Smart on upside down TV sets, because the characters in those series were somewhat dysfunctional. Starsky and Hutch needed two TVs.”
Humorously he adds, “Also, you wouldn't believe how many times I've been asked how I was able to find TVs that were abandoned and turned on, but on the sidewalk.”