On one of these occasions recently, I was passing by the bus and train terminal and a sign caught my eye. Living in London, signs are everywhere, and are taken for granted. What captured my interest was that the sign was directing pedestrians back to the front of the shopping centre and the transport hub.
This may not be a particularly surprising, but it wasn’t the way I wanted to go. I was headed off towards Holland Park – the route was completely acceptable (ie wasn’t trespassing, breaking any laws, etc).
What it made me realise is how much signs play a part of urban life, and how much they influence us. To some point, we don’t really question them as they often do serve a valuable service in keeping society functioning.
I may sound a bit cynical, but I did wonder whether what the motive was behind the sign. What struck me about this sign was it appeared it was trying to get me to go back and possibly spend more money in the shopping mall.
Whatever the motive was behind the sign, it did provide me with a good photographic opportunity. It is a very urban photo – a sign hung on a fence overlooking a busy bypass below with tower blocks on the other side. Shrubs and weeks were hinting at the bottom.
The image was taken quickly on a digital point and shoot camera, but that seems a bit irrelevant. It’s an image that many people have walked passed, but may only have been seen superficially.