Scenes from the American Sign Museum

Shell
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400
2017

It is comforting to encounter the roadside architecture and signage of my 1970s childhood, even when it’s in a museum. Shell service stations were even more common then than now, it seems. And in the 1970s, they were service stations where a man came out to fill your tank, clean your windshield, and check your oil. Every location I ever saw would also repair your car when it broke down. Their slogan was, “Service Is Our Business.”

About the photograph: I scanned these negatives myself. I’m doing more of that now, as it cuts costs. I haven’t figured out settings in Silverfast yet that do a truly good job of eliminating scratches and dust spots. I do get weary of manually editing them out. I gave up in this shot. But given its hue and softness, the marks seem okay somehow.

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single frame: Shell

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Scenes from the American Sign Museum

The Emmanuel Baptist Church Drug Company
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

I was trying to shoot just the church sign and didn’t really see the humorous placement of the sign behind it until I got the negatives back from the processor.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: The Emmanuel Baptist Church Drug Company

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Scenes from the American Sign Museum

HoJo’s
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

Could this have been my favorite sign in the American Sign Museum?

50mm was too confining a focal length in the museum’s tight spaces. I couldn’t back up far enough to get most scenes in. So I had to work within the constraint, using strategic framing and finding dramatic angles.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: HoJo’s

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Scenes from the American Sign Museum

Neonpallooza
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

The neon was out in force at the American Sign Museum!

Photography, Road Trips

single frame: Neonpallooza

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Scenes from the American Sign Museum

Glass-letter signs
Pentax ME
50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400

I took the Pentax ME along on my Cincinnati spring break trip with Garrett. I have always wanted to shoot serious neon on film, and the American Sign Museum surely gave me a great opportunity.

But of course these signs aren’t neon. The letters are all backlit glass. Such signs preceded the neon era.

Photography, Road Trips

single frame: Glass-letter signs

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