Photos: Bask In This Vintage Southern California Signage
The Museum of Neon Art is celebrating the sign. Be it flickering or faded, these retro roadside beacons hearken back to another era. And luckily there's a whole #signgeek community documenting them—60 different self-proclaimed Sign Geeks from around the world will be participating in this show.
A few of the photographs from the exhibit are from Rolando Pujol, who tells us he likes to look at the community "as a global network of preservationists—smartphones and cameras always at the ready—both celebrating the artistry and whimsy of these signs but also calling attention to their cultural significance and the need to save them."
"It's a race against time," he continues. "My interest in this area dates back to childhood, and began with that all-too-familiar horror of losing a beloved vintage landmark that had been there forever, and you thought would stay there forever. Not so."
While Pujol documents all over the place (and in fact, his photos on exhibit will be from New Jersey), Southern California has some of the best old signage in the U.S.—click through for some of Pujol's photos from Los Angeles. The NYC photographer says "one of the best things about California for sign photography is those beautiful blue skies. As a New York-based photographer, I crave for the sorts of days you get out here all the time. Perfect for dramatically situating a sign!" And he's working with some great relics here:
To me, Southern California is a treasure trove, a play land, of all things mid-century vintage. The beauty of spending even a little time here is that you make these amazing discoveries all the time. But these sorts of signage survivors lurk everywhere—the challenge is to keep looking, documenting, and preserving.
Since photographing glowing neon on an iPhone can be a challenge, we asked Pujol for a tip—he tells us: "One thing I do that's an iPhone secret is focus on what you're photographing, then tap the screen. A yellow square with a sun burst on a line next to it emerges. Slide the burst up and down the line and you can dramatically improve the quality of a tricky night neon photo! I usually have the setting on HDR as well."
The opening reception at The Museum of Neon Art is Friday night, April 1st, and the exhibit runs through June 19th.