Reilly Brennan lives in San Francisco but will always be a Detroiter at heart. He is the Executive Director of the Revs Automotive Research Program at Stanford and teaches a class on heroes and Dale Earnhardt at the Stanford d.school. He created a car photo thingy called Carmagnum.
I have been taking groupings of photos and sending them in bulk via SMS / iMessage to a few friends for the past year. A small cluster of photos can sometimes capture an experience better than one photo on Instagram or a full set of photos on Flickr and Facebook. There’s something interesting that happens when a small group of photos comes together, in that they are nominally about things, yet taken in a group they come to represent a feeling or an idea. I like to limit the number in these groupings to something that can be viewed and understood within one sitting, and usually this means no more than 15 photos, usually less. For lack of a better term I’ve been calling these ‘tableaus.’ It sounds a bit pretentious, so I welcome a better word if you have one.
I don’t know if this requires a new form — maybe it’s best if it just lives via SMS. But given the innovation we’ve seen in the entire continuum of photography over the last 10-15 years (the format itself moving to digital, the storage evolving with Flickr and Dropbox, the capturing evolving through camera-enabled photos and then apps like Instagram and Cinegram, the new idea of ‘planned obsolescence’ with Snapchat, the organization via hashtags, the printing through Snapfish and the like), there is a good chance some developer will innovate on quantity as much as we’ve seen some innovating on filtering as of late. Perhaps there is no end to photography innovation, that photography has been in a state of flux since it began.
To think broadly about how photography is changing, a few follow up readings: a classic (Susan Sontag’s On Photography, or view an excerpt) and some new thinking (a great, future-looking study from researchers at the University of Glasgow), which is where the above can be found.
I never laid eyes on an airplane yolk until a summer job in high school had me cleaning the greased underbelly of a Beechcraft Bonanza at the Oakland Troy Airport. I worked for Robert F. Byrne, an unbelievably cool guy for his 75 or so years, with an absolute crackshot mind and a love of women that pervaded all of his conversations like that of a 12 year old boy. A V-tail Bonanza was his commuter plane for all his various adventures and mischief to Florida, the Bahamas or wherever he pointed his yoke.
There was something special about the yoke in the Bonanza that I never forgot. It was white plastic and done in an elegant, spare way. In the last twenty or so years I’ve had eBay fantasies about hoarding a few hundred of them in a secret room somewhere. What I find fascinating about airplane yokes is the sheer diversity of interfaces and control shapes given the uniformity of the task. While some of the images you see here introduce more electronic controls into the experience, all the yokes are controlling the ailerons similarly but they look radically different. Compare these to automobile steering wheels, which are almost 99% the same shape.
Below, a smattering of some recent finds, from the rugged to the sophisticated. Enjoy. (Above is a Grumman S-2).
Cessna 336 Skymaster:
Beechcraft Bonanza Straight 35:
Avion — front and back because it’s so fruitshaped and wonderful: