Docubyte and Ink: Pilot Ace

Work / Photography

The history of computing presented by Docubyte and INK

“I’m a huge fan of analogue, vintage things. Dials, switches and knobs just have such a timeless retro appeal and a kind of innocent charm in the current world of slick, tech gadgetry, I wanted to address this photographically,’ says photographer James Ball, aka Docubyte. “I began thinking about building a kind of vintage-machine myself, and in researching the kind of things I was into, I realised that so many machines existed that looked like what I had in my mind I didn’t need to build anything myself – the analogue machines of my fantasies actually existed in real life.”

This series of photos, titled The History of Computing depicts key computers from throughout history, including the IBM 1401 and Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE, that have been digitally retouched and restored as if they were to be marketed today. James began by researching where he could find each machine before contacting curators and museums to arrange a shoot. “Achieving even lighting within the various places I shot, between machines presented a challenge. As did shooting objects behind glass (the Pilot Ace) and behind barriers and railings (the Harwell Dekatron for example),” says James. “Fortunately a lot could be dealt with in Photoshop – but essentially – making them look as though they’d all been photographed in the same place, was the biggest challenge.”

James hopes to expand the series in the coming months and will be releasing a series of prints in the near future.


Docubyte and Ink: DEKATRON


Docubyte and Ink: EAI PACE


Docubyte and Ink: ENDIM


Docubyte and Ink: HDR 75


Docubyte and Ink: I-C-L


Docubyte and Ink: IBM 729


Docubyte and Ink: IBM 1401


Docubyte and Ink: MEDA


Docubyte and Ink: Control Data