I have collected images of signs, on and off, for a few years. I am particularly fond of Jet-Age remnants of the '50s and '60s with their starbursts, masculine arrows and brilliant primary colors. If you need an example, stop by and take a gander at Bill Russell Fine Cars at Truman Road and Hardesty. It's a Jet-Age playground.
I'm also attracted to signs painted on brick - maybe it's because of the relative difficulty of creating a detailed graphic on a rough surface, or maybe it's just the idea of real permanence of the message, the optimism of advertising.
The boss rabbit and I saw this one in Durango, Colorado last summer:
So back in Kansas City, My Home Town, I've been watching a wall over on Indiana Avenue, not far from where the old Sears store once stood. It advertised Miller High Life Beer, and had been painted onto the bricks many years ago. Much like the Durango example, much of the message was starting to be obscured by the ravages of time and weather, so I supposed I'd best get after the image before it got much worse.
The weather this year has been iffy, to say the least, so I kept an eye on the brick wall and it's ad for the "Champagne of Bottled Beers". Most mornings, it was too dark to set up and shoot the wall, and many evenings it was already dark as I made my way home. Even then, I don't always lug the Fujis around with me. Last week, with Daylight Saving time in full force and resolved to carry my cameras whenever possible, I made plans to stop at the sign after work.
I turned onto Indiana from 18th and got down to 21st or so to make the U-Turn. As I approached the brick building from the south, my heart sank. The Miller sign had been painted over with a fresh coat of white paint. The sign was lost forever, a photograph that will never be taken. This is the kind of random painting that my dad would have done, sure that a white rectangle on a brick wall was much more pleasing to the eye than any old beer sign.
Of course, the moral to all this is to simply not let your creative instincts get mugged by procrastination, laziness or any other excuse for driving on by. You may not get a better chance than today. Take your shot, even if conditions aren't perfect, even if the neighborhood maybe looks a little rough, even if you have to, well, whatever you have to do, do it. Your magnum opus may have a fresh coat of paint on it tomorrow. Hell, it may not even be there at all. Now is the time.