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MAKING
GOOD TIME
 
 
MIKE MANDEL
1989

Self-published

Hardcover

72 pp.

67 duotone black and white,

and, 27 color illustrations

10.875” square

 

$40 signed

INTRODUCTION

Making Good Time uncovers photographic efficiency studies made for industry by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth in the early part of the 20th century. The Gilbreths and their twelve children became America’s favorite family after a series of books were published about their efficiency-conscious household n the 1950’s. The movie, Cheaper By the Dozen, 1950, celebrated their obsessive efficiency as a situation comedy starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy. Few people are familiar with the Gilbreths' contribution to the history of photography that uniquely changed how workers were managed by their employers. The Gilbreths employed small, strobing lights that they attached to factory workers to measure the “one best way” to do work. In Making Good Time I respond to the Gilbreth history of scientific management with my own time/motion studies, creating a dialog with the earlier work. The Gilbreths used blinking lights and camera time exposures to analyze the motions of factory workers, typists, soldiers and surgeons. They believed that the science of photography would reduce fatigue on the job and increase production. In Making Good Time, I have translated their methodology  to heighten the effect of contemporary connotations of efficiency studies: Bodies disappear into blinks of electricity; faces blur like ghosts; clocks and grids determine time and position. 

In this work I also connect the Gilbreths with other photographers, scientists and artists:  Eadward Muybridge, Etienne Jules Marey, and the Italian Futurists.  In my own time/motion photographs I turn the Gilbreths upside down.  I want to find the “one best way” for the worst of reasons - to analyze motions that have never been measured and don’t need to be. I want to completely reevaluate day-to-day life, distorting the Gilbreth imperative to suit my needs:  More waste = more fun. In Making Good Time there is an incomplete compendium of human endeavor:  Emptying the Fridge, Packing Lunch, Wrapping Sandwiches, Cutting Meat.  And, Brushing Hair, Brushing Teeth, and Changing Diapers.  And what about Watering the Lawn and Watching TV?  That’s me sitting for twenty minutes during an hour-long Everly Brothers Special on PBS, while automatic sprinklers were watering my backyard.

 
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