The machines we left behind
For whatever reasons, humans eventually vacate the places they inhabit, and in doing so, things are left behind. Some of those things happen to be Apple computers, software, and accessories that wallow in dark and dirty places for decades until rediscovered by urban explorers who delight in documenting abandoned urban spaces. Most explorers are guidedby a code of ethics not to disturb what they find, as illustrated by their main credo: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
Ahead in the second – and final – installment of this feature you’ll see beautiful photographs of abandoned Apple products captured by these latter-day adventurers, who in some cases have risked life and limb to document their finds. To view Part 1 of the feature, click here. It is worth emphasising that urban exploration is extremely dangerous and often illegal. Please do not try it yourself.
In the land before Microsoft Office, there was AppleWorks (1984), an integrated office suite published by Apple for its Apple II series computers. Photographer Chris Luckhardt found a neglected copy of the software sitting among detritus and rubble in an abandoned Rochester, NY office building.[Photo: Chris Luckhardt]
Even before humans abandoned this Apple Unidisk 5.25-inch disk drive, someone wrote “OLD” across it, showing it was already thoroughly obsolete when they vacated the premises. So it was very oldwhen Augustus Urbex discovered it in an abandoned Birmingham, Alabama office building in 2012. Makes you wonder if a disk is still inside.[Photo: Augustus Urbex]
Two Apple fans named Pinot and Dita discovered this Macintosh Color Classicsitting near an accordion in an abandoned house, where it had sat for 13 years. It’s hard not to personify a computer in a scene like this, where the dusty machine seems as if it is “looking at the window, waiting for his master to pick him up,” according to the photographers.[Photo: Pinot and Dita]
Abandoned computer lab
Photographer Ken Fager discovered this vandalized Apple IIe in the computer lab of abandoned Horace Mann High Schoolin Gary, Indiana. Behind it sit stacks of boxlike PC compatibles and various monitors strewn around the space. Curiously, an ImageWriter II, which sits to the right of the IIe, seems to have escaped the cracked fate of its Apple-branded companions.[Photo: Ken Fager]
Among the weeds
Somebody didn’t want this iMac anymore, and they dumped it under a railroad trestle near Charlottesville, Virginia. Photographer Karen Blaha happened upon the scene and partially documented the slow-motion reclamation of the iMac by the earth and its photosynthetic helpers, who will eventually swallow it whole.[Photo: Karen Blaha]
In 2010, Rob Sinclair noticed this partially crushed iPod mini sitting on the concrete at a bus stop in Fribourg, Switzerland. With so many millions of iPods in circulation since 2001, scenes like this are probably common in many urban areas, underscoring the need for comprehensive e-waste recycling programs. Still, many Apple products will doubtless remain misplaced and abandoned, serving as artifacts that inform future civilisations of our nature; others will rejoin the earth, the place from which every man-made item ultimately came.[Photo: Rob Sinclair]