5/31/02 I have two ongoing


I have two ongoing projects with my digital camera that probably only keeps me interested in particular, but if you’re going to be a total dork, you might as well fling yourself right into it. Plus, I’m getting married to someone spellbinding and have a pretty good career trajectory and don’t have to try and get laid anymore, so now I can continue all of my stupid, shut-in, geekily particular projects without worrying what any of you think. Ah, the freedom!

Anyway, one project is a photo essay on company signs in NYC that still have the World Trade Center towers as part of the logo. I’m interested to see how long they last as symbols of New York, until the companies go through a redesign and get rid of them. Here’s a couple of examples:

the Playpen on 8th Ave – porn and martial arts movies

a Manhattan Fruit Exchange truck in Chelsea

You’d be stunned how many of them there are, but I can’t always get my camera ready in time, especially while driving. And of course, there’s my other project (admittedly purloined from my internet hero James Lileks and his awesome ghost ads site) which is a photo essay of all the faded, crumbling advertisements on the sides of buildings in NYC, for companies that no longer exist, selling products nobody remembers how to use. Stuff like this:

cropped pic of 26th St. signs for furriers and muff beds, painted circa 1930

I mean, I don’t even know what a muff bed is. The coolest signs are the ones with five-digit phone numbers that begin with letters. Obviously, I’ve had to crop the hell out of them to put them on this blog, but I want to put up a web page with some nice, dramatic ones on there. You know, because I’m a dork.

The best thing about having projects like this is that it gets you in the habit of looking, and sometimes a picture comes of it that you never saw coming. The benefit of a digital camera is the ability to erase pictures you don’t like, so you don’t have those 7-8 pics in each roll of film that are utterly useless. But you need to be careful with your emotional editor, or else you’ll delete something cool just because it wasn’t what you thought you wanted.

While snapping a pic of a WTC logo etched on a bagel shop awning, I tripped in the street. I would have erased the picture, but then I stopped, and saw this:

And that has made all the difference.

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