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.