In the early 1920s, Strand made several still-life studies of machine age objects including the Akeley Motion Picture Camera, framing the machine much as he had the urban world in his film, Manhatta with Charles Sheeler. He had purchased the Akeley camera in 1922 and later wrote to Van Deren Coke, "The Akeley was assuredly the chief stimulus to my active interest in the machine..." (Aperture, Sixty Years of Photographs, p. 149.)
The machine defined the modern city and in these tools of industrialization Strand and his contemporaries found a modern visual language. Strand's close-up portraits of the Akeley Camera, machine gears and the lathe, are studies of the modern machine, not merely as mechanical objects but as forms with dynamic, aesthetic qualities. These images were among the last works Strand made relating to the European Modernist movements of the 1910s. After 1925 he turned his attention away from subjects he associated with America's materialism, yet he continued in his portrait work, focusing on faces, landscapes and still-life subjects.
There are approximately three additional known prints of this image including one in the collection of the University of Mew Mexico; one in the Paul Strand Archive; and possibly one in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.