Sign Me Up

Here's a color version of the B&W "Scene Through the Lens" photo in today's newspaper. Because I used a strobe on the reflective signs, it looks different in color.

I don't usually use "sign" photos in the column, because they seem too easy. Almost like taking a picture of a painting. Even with something else is going on in its proximity, it feels lazy.

I also avoid sign photos because they are literally "literal." As a visual person in a verbal world - newspapers - many times someone is looking for a photo that "says" something to go with a story. There are bonus points if you can get a picture with something - a sign perhaps? - that "reads" well.

A few weeks ago I was asked to shoot two different political signs, for two different congressional candidates, from two different political parties, planted in two different neighboring front yards. This was to illustrate a story for the upcoming mid-term election. The "story" was that there are two different candidates running for the same political office and that residents of the district - some of them even neighbors on the very same street - have different opinions about how they plan to vote.

Two years ago, I happened on a home with Obama & McCain campaign signs inches apart on the front lawn. Even with the American flag on the portico it didn't make a decent photograph (although, when the owners replied to the note I left for them, it did spark an interesting conversation).

So, maybe I'm a hypocrite.  I don't know why I liked this sign photo any more than some of the others I shoot but never use. Thinking about it made me look in the reject pile for a few sign photos from recent months. Here you go: