Thursday, December 27, 2012

Signs and sentience

click photo to enlarge
Over the years I've posted quite a few photographs of signs. Some of them, such as the recent one of the London Underground roundel show specimens displaying exemplary design, others, as is the case with this old road sign, illustrate how signs in the past emphasised the message much more than presentation. However, it is those signs that say more than the writer intended that I enjoy most of all.

I particularly relished the sign I came across in Williamson Park, Lancaster, that proclaimed, "Danger - Shallow Water" and I had to drive carefully and look behind every tree and bush when I came upon the sign at Bleasdale, Lancashire, that said, "Slow - Children & Dogs Everywhere". Then there was the sign on a Blackpool pier exhorting visitors not to attach bicycles to the railings because to do so was a fire hazard. I felt I had little choice but to give that blog post the title, "Incendiary bicycles?"

When I decided that my garden shed needed its security improving I took a few basic measures to make it more difficult for a burglar to enter. I also cast around for a sign that would increase the deterrent effect. When I saw this one I simply had to buy it. I loved the idea that my shed is sentient and has feelings just like you and me, though every time I see it I do wonder what I could have done to cause it such consternation.

Incidentally, this image shows a photographic optical illusion of a kind that I've noticed before. The writing on the sign is engraved, yet sometimes it appears to be embossed depending on how you visually interpret the shadows in the indentations. Another example of the phenomenon can be seen in this old graffiti on the medieval stonework of the tower of St Botolph in Boston, Lincolnshire

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 100mm macro
F No: f11
Shutter Speed: 100 sec
ISO: 160
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On