- Submarine Decoy Test, Michael Scudder, March, 10 1980, at Telectro Systems Corp., Queens.
Michael Scudder has worked in the field of information technology for over 30 years, from the telecom industry to air traffic control. The Rhinebeck-based photographer sent us this photograph, which is featured in the "Far & Wide National" show though June 9 at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum with the following explanation:
During the 1980s, I worked as a technical writer/contracts administrator for a public sector electronics contractor in Queens. One of the firm's contracts was for a submarine (or torpedo) decoy—basically an audio player that generates a submarine or ship acoustic signature. The device attaches to a vehicle which might either be towed at some distance behind a vessel or released into the ocean. The purpose is to draw torpedo fire away from a defending target vessel.
My employer developed a prototype of such a device in hopes of winning a production contract. The contracting agency required the developer to provide the actual, physical unit for evaluation. Even though my employer had engineering drawings, lack of a physical prototype would present a challenge for the firm when it came time to reproduce the device for production. Absent a physical prototype, their next best option was to document the device photographically. That was my job, which I did with a large format (4x5) camera. Between shots—as I waited for the engineers to set up the views they wanted documented—I captured this image with my 35mm camera.
The short man in the foreground seen in silhouette from behind is the chief mechanical engineer. The bearded man in the background on the right is the chief electrical engineer. The metal cabinet in the center of the image is a hyperbaric chamber used to test devices at extreme pressures and temperatures, e.g., similar to those of the deep ocean.