Signs are all around us but most of the time we just ignore them as we rush on through our busy lives. In this assignment, take a walk through familiar surroundings and look particularly at the signs that clutter up your personal landscape. Many signs are filled with unintended humor and irony not to mention grammar and spelling mistakes. This assignment is designed to hone your powers of observation. Gradually, photography will impart a deeper understanding of your environment; the world within which you walk. In addition to commercial signage, observe and photograph the bulletin boards, graffiti, T-shirts and nonverbal symbology that comprise your Lebenswelt. Use a straight up documentary style to record signage of note and experiment with juxtaposition and close cropping to add an interpretive edge to the signage you encounter.

 lesson19 1

I love this sign, perched as it is, atop Granville Street Bridge on one of the main approaches into downtown Vancouver . A city worker, inadvertently or with a twist of irony in mind, flipped around the usual word order to this warning sign, flipping the meaning too: from "be aware that your vision is obstructed" to "The cityscape before you is the consequence of a profound lack of insight." Couldn't agree more.

 lesson19 2

Check out the inadvertent irony here, also on the Granville Street Bridge. In spite of three entreaties to the contrary, we find an environment entirely hostile to pedestrians.

 lesson19 3

I've been mad about graffiti since the mid-70s. This is one of my favourites. The stencilled message reads: "Don't you know masks are to hide behind". Note the other contextual elements.

 lesson19 4

Though I'm not particularly enthusiastic about tags, this one, at the south end of the Cambie Street Bridge, is better than average. Inclusion of an element of self-portrait, and some dude walking his dog makes for an attractive composition without deeper meaning.

All photographs were taken by Brian Grover.

The End