13 Sep 2010


Watermans Ideal Fountain Pen

“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.”
Robert C. Gallagher


As some of you will have heard, things are changing in my life and, consequently, with the Ghostsigns Project.

This coming Thursday I will be travelling to Cambodia to join my wife who is already there getting ready for our two year VSO placement. She will be working training teachers and, as it stands, I’m seeking opportunities once I arrive (contacts/leads more than welcome, we’ll be based in Kratie Town). To document our experience and progress I have started a blog which can be read here.

The Change
This move means that my active involvement with the Ghostsigns Project is likely to become less frequent, especially in terms of maintaining this blog and handling submissions to the HAT archive. While Cambodia is significantly less developed than the UK, there is internet access and I will endeavour to put things up here as and when I can. I can still be emailed on sam@ghostsigns.co.uk but may take longer than usual to reply.

The Archive
The major shift as a result of my move is that the day to day management of the HAT archive will pass from me to HAT. We have been working together to ensure a smooth handover and are now in the final stages of doing so. The main difference of note to contributors is that new material coming into the archive will go through a different process which is explained in detail on the ‘Getting Involved’ page.

In many ways the entire project has been a reaction to change, the changes in our ‘street-scapes’ that often lead to the loss of hand painted signs on walls. As a result of the project I believe we have changed the position of these Ghostsigns by not only saving them through photography but raising their profile in the wider public consciousness through the coverage that our efforts have received in the press.

The Numbers
Here are some of the numbers as they stand at this stage in the project:
4 – years since I took my first photo (see above)
12 – months from opening the archiving process to launching the archive
161 – photographers whose material appears in the archive
700 – signs documented in the archive (up from 600 at launch)
4,902 – photos in the Flickr Group (from 512 members)

While I have personally dedicated much of my own time and energy to this project, it simply could not have happened without the support of the many people who have been involved along the way. I would like to thank you all, not least:

  • Those who recognised I was on to something in the early days and encouraged me to stick with it.
  • The History of Advertising Trust for accepting my proposal and supporting me through the development of the archive.
  • Rank Hovis for their sponsorship of the project.
  • The photographers whose generosity in gifting their images led to the rapid creation of what we have today.

Thanks again and look out for my despatches from Cambodia in the coming months…

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