Sunday, March 27, 2011

A place to begin

good place to start is usually the beginning. This is the "A" that sparked a journey. It is not the first character I found when I began scouring the country for letters. But this old neon "A" made me realize there were amazing letters waiting to be found. You just have to slow down and see the built environment in a different way. Most people barely glance at the hundreds of signs they pass every day. I see those signs as holding the next great "Q" or "Z" that will make my growing collection of letters better. This "A" was sitting with some rusting junk near an old store in northern Utah.

My photo project started when I was a newspaper reporter in Utah. When covering stories along the byways of rural Utah, I began stumbling upon forgotten places. Rusting gas stations. Crumbling railroad depots. The more rusted metal and shattered glass the better. As I made it a goal to visit as many Western towns and villages as I could, I was disappointed that not every place had such examples of faded glory.

But every stop had signs. The southern Utah towns that cling to Interstate 15 hide 1950s-era motels and old stores if you take the time to drive through these old downtowns. I began taking pictures of such signs. As friends started having children, it occurred to me I could crop letters from various sign photos and print baby names as gifts. From that point on, I began to photograph all the interesting individual letters I could spot. Every where I traveled on vacation or assignment offered a chance to find new letters. From Miami, Florida, and New York City to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Altoona, Pennsylvania, I have photographed letters of all styles, colors, and materials. My collection now includes 100s of letters, numbers, and symbols with more coming each month.

The next step in my journey will be to open an on-line shop where I will offer products made with some of my favorite letters and numbers. Special thanks to my friend Ben (you can check out his prolific blog
Ben's Journal) for being the tech support that made this site possible. Keep watching this site for updates as I prepare to set up shop this summer.