more signs of the times

Signs of the Times is a fun project. It’s been a relief to let loose.

It’s been a relief to take a break from the pressure of taking pictures of people and places, where my camera and I are sometimes viewed as an intrusion, a threat, or an annoyance.

When I take pictures of these iconic signs, everyone gets it. They stop to talk to me about what these places mean to them, about their memories, and about how hard it can be to change and let go.

  C.F. Sauer Company  | 2200 W Broad Street | Richmond, VA

C.F. Sauer Company | 2200 W Broad Street | Richmond, VA

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It’s been a relief to revel in the sunshine. August is hot, and often the bright sun makes colors wash out. It can be a challenge to photograph with so much contrast. But with these pictures of signs high atop buildings, the contrast strengthens the photograph. I can shoot with great depth of field (ISO 100, f 16) and still get shutter speeds that yield sharpness. I can allow the colors their vibrancy or strip the color entirely so that the sculpture speaks in lines and shapes alone.

  Famous Foods of Virginia  | W Broad Street | Richmond, VA

Famous Foods of Virginia | W Broad Street | Richmond, VA

It’s been a relief to look up. Often I struggle with lens distortion and issues of perspective. Which line to make straight? Angle or head on? But with these pictures, that’s the whole point. To make a picture that gives the viewer the sense of looking up—at the wondrous signs, at their bigness, at the vastness of the sky, and the smallness of our little bodies attached to the earth.

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It's been a relief to make pictures that feel so good.

Hope. And frozen custard.

Old hotels. And vanilla extract.

Makers of Girl Scout cookies and the white bread of my youth.

Barbeque joints and roadside diners.