Signed, Sealed, Delivered

From the High Line, a city scene. And there, marked by its bright red, six-story sign, stands the New Yorker Hotel. An icon of the NYC skyline, the sign adds that distinctive element which establishes our sense of place – mid-town Manhattan.

In this month’s edition of Exploring with a Camera, the subject is “Signs”. Signs provide information, advertise, identify, direct, educate and warn. Signs add a graphic quality to our images and create a focal point because text immediately draws the viewer’s eye.

As I searched my archive, I was surprised to find the number of times that signs were part of the photographic story, adding a sense of place and providing location clues for the viewer.

This image was taken inside the New York Public Library. If you look closely, you will see the street sign, identifying our location as Fifth Avenue – an interesting surprise element within the silhouetted ornate framework.

Taken from high atop Rockefeller Center, this image captures a small slice of the NYC skyline. Since the Chrysler Building is my favorite, I was slightly perturbed that the MetLife building blocked a full view of its signature profile. But now, I am rather fond of this image – with the Chrysler surrounded by its neighbors.

Welcome to New Philadelphia, Ohio and its iconic greeting. Singular and distinctive, the sign is a landmark of this city’s downtown.

Here we celebrate the history of my hometown and its position along the original Lincoln Highway, now US Route 30, one of the earliest transcontinental auto trails in the US.

And finally, a sign that is no longer a sign. Interesting because it has morphed into its opposite – a blank slate. We are left to wonder – what was its original message? “No Parking”? “Beware of Dog”? What message are we missing  that time has erased?

Thanks to Kat for this month’s exploration of signs. It was an interesting exercise to delve into this topic and study the impact signs can have on our work.

Linking with Exploring with a Camera: Signs, hosted by Kat Eye Studio

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Posted on July 19, 2012, in Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Brenda if I remember this will be the month that I finally post to Kat’s Exploring with a Camera: Signs. I love signs and just shot some while up in the NC mountains this week. You have some great shots….I ADORE the bluish tinted black and white. So perfect for New York. You must have had a trip there recently….and want to go back again and again, right?
    I think the subject of signs appeals to me on a personal level. I always get lost and never know what directions I am facing. So I love love love signs that point the way…even inside a hotel, when I exit my room and have to find the elevator!!! smile.

  2. Love, Love, love that last one!

  3. Great sign finds Brenda. I need to tour thru my archives and find some….I know they’re everywhere and half the time we don’t see them. As you know the inclusion of text with images is a fave of mine, and perhaps based on what I’m seeing here, a fave of yours too. Happy day my friend.

  4. So much fun!! You are right, the signs in most of these images give such a clue to place, whether they are large in the photograph or a subtle background element. I love the last sign that is no longer a sign too – the mystery of it! This is where we get to tell our own story. Thanks for sharing in Exploring with a Camera!

  5. There is such a wide variety here — I love it. My favorite are the last two — the history of Canton and the sign that is no longer a sign. They seem to beg for stories. Love them!

  6. Great examples for this theme, Brenda! I like your hometown sign, so classic! And so typical of your style to capture the wonderful mystery in the last image. Signs are so much fun — I am starting to really look for them now when I am out with my camera.

  7. Love these sign shots, I particularly like the subtle 5th avenue shot, a really beautiful frame.

  8. Your project and words turn signs, which are often annoying visual elements, into something interesting and to be included. Such strong images with your signature graphic element. The library window is stunning. The processing of each seems perfectly suited to the scene.

  9. What a terrific collection of signs..and I love that view from the NYC library. Isn’t it the most beautiful of old buildings???

  10. Great collection of signs! I love the New York Library window! You’ve found a beautiful way to include your location in the photos. I like the last one, too.

  11. Another stunning collection, especially since these were already in your archives and not purpose-taken for Kat’s sign challenge. As usual, I found myself liking each successive image even more than the one that came before but, in this case at least IMHO, the last photo really does take pride of show. The mystery you mention about the lost contents of the sign and the warm-toned processing you applied all make that one a winner!

  12. Your last sign is especially clever!

  13. Such a creative thematic series Brenda–each image intriguing for so many reasons, not the least of which is the great signage. Love it!

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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