Coronavirus: A sideways glance at the signs around us

Published

On her daily walk during the lockdown due to the coronavirus, photographer Kiki Streitberger sees another meaning in some of the adverts and posters she finds on the streets of London. Here she recounts those that caught her eye.

Image source, Kiki Streitberger

The sign says: "There is another way to live."

It was meant to entice us to switch to greener energy.

When I noticed this sign, however, on the day London went into lockdown, it presented itself as an ominous prediction of things to come.

The coronavirus pandemic turned me into a solo traveller in my own city.

As I walked the roads and backstreets, I noticed how I look at advertising differently.

What once seemed to be perfectly normal suddenly seems very much out of place in these changed times we find ourselves in.

Image source, Kiki Streitberger

"Watching the world go by matters," state TfL on their poster campaign.

They probably hadn't thought that for the next few months we'd be watching the world go by from our own windows.

Nearly empty buses advertise films and books with tag lines such as: "The hour has come," and: "What you can't see can hurt you."

Well yes, we know that now.

Image source, Kiki Streitberger
Image source, Kiki Streitberger

The subversive art exhibition Panicky in the UK I sadly missed this April - though I often feel I have become a part of it myself.

Image source, Kiki Streitberger

"Want to be part of this?" I'm asked on a sign in Camden.

Well, I'm not sure but, a few metres on, it encourages me to "Embrace change." OK then.

Image source, Kiki Streitberger
Image source, Kiki Streitberger

Advertising and how we understand it always depends on who we are and on the situation we find ourselves in.

Coronavirus has changed our world and, with it, the meaning of the signs around us.

I'm not looking for these signs, they are everywhere.

And many of them make me laugh when I notice them.

Each one is a wonderful surprise.

And so I found myself photographing signs and adverts I would have simply ignored before.

I enjoy creating collections of photographs - many different images of essentially the same thing.

Maybe it's my way of creating an order in a sometimes chaotic world.

"The future is hot," I read.

This is certainly true for the immediate future.

And the bus driving by assures me: "The magic begins this October."

Image source, Kiki Streitberger
Image source, Kiki Streitberger

Here are a few more that caught Streitberger's eye.

Image source, Kiki Streitberger
Image source, Kiki Streitberger
Image source, Kiki Streitberger
Image source, Kiki Streitberger

All photographs courtesy Kiki Streitberger