Sign of the Times - tyneholm
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Sign of the Times

Assignment S01 

In every town and city we are surrounded by signs; street signs, posters, banners, store windows, advertising on buses, public information notices, and so on. And it’s all great material for street photographers.

When you look closely, there’s often a connection to be made between the words around you and the people or things close to them; with a bit of luck these connections can be playful, whimsical or downright funny. With this assignment, I had to look at every single sign I saw and think about the creative possibilities, what other element I might need to make the sign work for me.

The task for this assignment was to create a series of eight images, either in colour or black and white (not both), where signs are the star.

View the images


  • You often spot the background first, then it’s a case of waiting until the right person (or dog, bike, car, and so on) comes into the frame.
  • As with other types of street photography, it’s important to be prepared to wait until all the required elements come into play – waiting for a while is not uncommon.
  • I usually don’t have the luxury of time to get this just right, so I make the most of the opportunity to explore different shooting positions and perspectives, and seeking out the most favourable light.

Field Notes

  • If shooting signs in windows, I tried not to get my own reflection in my shots. I reduce the chances of this happening by shooting at a slight angle rather than square-on.
  • While it’s great to be funny – and even controversial or provocative – I do try to avoid being offensive through my juxtaposition of a sign and a person.