Introducing The Vanity Tag Project

August - 2012

From 1990 to 2000, I was never without a camera. My Hasselblad 500 CM, Nikon F3 or Konica point and shoot was always with me. Most of the time, I had at least two of them. When I left college in 2000 for a real job, my habit of always carrying a camera slowly faded. A few years ago, I was disappointed to realize I rarely had one with me 1. I needed a project to help me take up my old habit. I settled on photographing vanity tags.

Vanity tags may seem an odd subject choice, but the purpose of the project is not to create striking images. It's to make me carry a camera. The nature of vanity tags work for this because:

  1. They are plentiful enough that I usually see one or two a day on average.

  2. They aren't so many that I'd see several every single day.

  3. They can be anywhere there's a car and therefore anywhere I'm likely to be.

With that combination, in order to do the project well, I must always be ready to shoot. Hence, I always need a camera on me. The balancing factor is that there aren't so many of them that I'd get worn out or bored shooting every one I see.

To kick things off, here's the Florida tag "PCTR IT", which I translate to "Picture it".

TODO: Add this photo /i/aws-20120713--1319-01.jpg

Seems appropriate.


Links and Notes

  1. Even though cell phone cameras have become great for the size, they don't register in my mind as a camera. I realize that's completely irrational. Just look at Caryn's blog. She's a Photo Official for the PGA TOUR and shoots most of her personal stuff with her iPhone. And it's killer.