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Eerily Beautiful Photos Show How TV Tech Has Changed

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Photo: Lee Chapman

A remarkable set of photos taken by Japan-based photographer Lee Chapman shows old, long-forgotten television sets in their original surroundings.

The eerily beautiful images were captured by Chapman over the last 10 years during explorations of abandoned houses, hotels, and schools buried deep in the Japanese countryside.

An old TV set.
Photo: Lee Chapman

The pictures of places that once bustled with life are also a stark reminder of just how much television technology has changed over the decades, with old CRT (cathode-ray tube) sets having long ago given way to more advanced flat-screen models with increasingly advanced displays.

“Televisions remain an ever-present feature in the home and hotel room, but just like viewing habits, designs have changed enormously, and the TV sets are a nice reminder of just how dramatic those changes have been,” the photographer said.

An old TV set.
Photo: Lee Chapman

Chapman, also an accomplished street photographer whose work has appeared in publications around the world, has a longtime fascination with “haikyo,” the Japanese word for “ruins,” and consequently often stumbles across various technologies that have fallen by the wayside.

An old TV set.
Photo: Lee Chapman

“Finding personal items in an abandoned building is alway most affecting, but in some ways old tech can feel the same,” Chapman told 98bpm. “Telephones previously used on a daily basis, and TVs around which people would’ve once gathered, not only give an indication of time but also make it easier to imagine the lives of those who once spent time there.”

Lee Chapman

To see Chapman’s full set of images of television sets from a bygone era — ancient Toshiba, Hitachi, and National models among them — be sure to view the post on his photo site.

98bpm interviewed Lee Chapman about his street photography work a few years back. You can check out the article here.

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