I used to take pictures of other things, but now I just take pictures of signs. Not every sign makes the cut, which means I have standards and preferences. That I'm making choices. But I can't say for sure what I'm choosing. I'm a sucker for signs that mark things that aren't there anymore. I like signs for businesses that shut down a long time ago, and now there's only a marker, pointing to an absence. To a hole in the world. A sign that still speaks the name of someone or something who doesn't answer to it anymore. The cities of the world are full of signs like that, a million little memorials to what's been lost: old fonts; vacuum tubes; snake oil.I'm a sucker for one-offs. Signs that have some personality, or that reflect someone's particular taste. I like signs with misspellings and bad grammar. Ambiguous wording. Clunky graphics. Each sign like a small insurgency against the regime of stale sameness that orders the world.
And you could probably construct a whole economic theory around handmade signs-- the places where they thrive (neighborhoods with immigrants; neighborhoods with poor people; neglected parts of town), and the places where they're hard to find.
Signs are usually better than the things they're a sign for. They're all possibilities and prospects, neon-lit, bright and unshadowed by the disappointments that you always, inevitably find if you follow the sign's arrow to wherever it's pointing.This one is on the Upper West Side of NYC.