Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Signs - A Project


I've decided to give myself a little project, an ongoing thing to keep me occupied throughout the year when no other inspiration arises. I needed an easy target, one that is not season dependent, but offers a lot of variety and opportunity, and doesn't stress me out.

I make it sound like I sat and wondered what might fulfill these criteria and then looked around for a subject that would work, but in reality I decided on the signs then retroactively designed a rationale for it :-) But, it works. And yeah, I know, signs might seem boring or trivial, but look at the title of the blog.

It actually started with the closing of a local neighborhood pharmacy (sad story of skyrocketing rents in a slow economy and an emphasis among insurers on mail-order prescriptions)  It's not the pharmacy from the pictures here, but that was on my mind when I took these while out on a walk looking for other things.

Corporate Takeover

I don't think NY will ever be able to function without these local, small, independent enterprises, at least I hope not. It's just too densely populated to be served entirely by big corporations, and like any town, large or small, it's the local business that lends character to a place.

Tooth Decay

Yesterday I had the opposite experience -I went out looking for signs, and stumbled upon the bike racks. I thought, hey, that's pretty neat, serendipity -  I got pictures of things I wanted to photograph (signs) and a little bonus in the unexpected sight of the bike racks with perfect shadows. I wish I had played around with that scene a little more, I think I could have gotten a more interesting angle, but I was self-conscious because two guys were standing right next to the bike racks and it still unnerves me how people stare at you when you are taking pictures.

So here's one from yesterday, unrelated (at least directly) to the pharmacy issue, but in keeping with Bill Wellham's black & white to color ratio :-)


Sometimes the irony is just irresistible. They are open for business.


  1. Great idea. Sometimes I think I have to do the same . Limit myself to one theme and stick to it for a while but I am not diciplined enough to do so. On the other hand I can pick out hundreds of pictures with the same theme from my photo collection. But by doing just one theme you made progress in photographing it. In the past I also tried to participate in a photo group but it didn't work out because I could not hold myself on the weekly assignment . Still I admire your discipline to do this. Hope to see more because from that I get never enough.

  2. I also noticed that I have a lot of shots already in my collection that have to do with signs. I don't feel the need to be disciplined about it, in a way it's more like my "safety" shot - easy target, variation, always there even when nothing else presents itself, and I enjoy documenting the existence of these things that will almost certainly disappear in time.

  3. I took a few sign shots back in the day living in So. California but they'e locked away in the form of unscanned negatives and 35mm slides. Urban areas certainly offer more opportunities but traveling cross-country unveils some great finds as well. You've given me an idea, Michael; to find a couple of those to post in lieu of more autumn shots. BTW, I like your bike rack shot - the shapes and layout create an interesting dynamic of dark. light and design.