Apple product shot parody makes beat-up gadgets look pretty

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Apple product shot parody
A broken Apple Watch and scratched up iPod never looked better.
Photo: Elvin Hu

Apple taught Elvin Hu new languages.

Born in China, Hu refined his English by watching Apple keynote events. He also came to understand the visual language of Apple’s product photography.

The latter inspired Hu, a design student at The Cooper Union in New York City, to create a series of product shots showing broken and well-worn Apple gadgets in hands that share similar gouges and scratches.

A selection of the photos is on display at the Cooper Union gallery through June 9.

Apple product shot parody
A good iPod collects its share of scratches.
Photo: Elvin Hu

“Ad campaigns from tech companies like Apple always show the perfect condition of everything, but they never look that way in real life,” Hu told Cult of Mac. “I created a series of photographs that documents well-worn Apple products… to highlight the human side of technology.”

Some of the photos include an Apple Watch with a web of cracks covering the surface of the touch screen. Another is of a shiny iPod with dozens of tiny scratch that get revealed from the use of soft studio light. There is also an iPhone with a scuffed yellow case and an iPad with a swirl of smudged and smeared fingerprints on the screen.

Apple product shot parody
An iPad screen doesn’t stay clean for very long.
Photo: Elvin Hu
Apple product shot parody
Elvin Hu makes the case for imperfect product shots.
Photo: Elvin Hu
Apple product shot parody
Cracked but still on duty.
Photo: Elvin Hu

Hu served as his own hand model. That too was left unpolished, his hand showing bitten nails, cuticles peeled back and the occasional Band-aid.

“About the hands, it’s another thing that is always perfect in advertisements,” Hu said. “My goal with the shoot is to bring back the human factors in real life that are missing from advertisement-product photography, so I chose not to hide the imperfection on the hands either.”

Hu will join Google this summer as a UX design intern.