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One Small Step

A NEON CHRISTMAS EVE, Hollywood, CA: I spent Christmas Eve late last year shooting neon in Hollywood. It was kind of a sureal night. Just me out, all alone, the kids in bed, shooting neon in the late hours every place I could find it in Hollywood. I'm usually not up past midnight on Christmas Eve, but last year was an exception.


I'm working right now on building the largest personally shot collection of neon signs in the world. I think I've got about 1,500 shots of neon so far. You can see about 450 of these in my set "Neon Days and Neon Nights."


I've got a long way to go I'm sure, but I'm dedicated, committed and have endurance. At present most of my neon is focusing on California, but I hope to someday take bigger road trips and get so much more of it all over the U.S. and even the world.


I see much of my work with neon as preservation of sorts. So much of neon ends up destroyed over time and it's gone with no record that it ever existed. A couple of museums have popped up to try and preserve the old neon signs, one in Las Vegas and one in Los Angeles. While I admire that, both have poorly thought out no photography policies. I got into a beef with the Las Vegas museum when they denied my request to shoot there. My goal is to create the largest collection of neon to preserve it and share it with the world for free. They want to keep it locked up and control who gets to see it and try to milk it for money. I blogged about this a while back here. I'm hoping some day that they will understand the relevance of what I'm trying to do and let me shoot their collection. Probably not though.


I'm not sure who has the largest personally shot collection so far, but two other photographers who are building large collections of neon that I admire are Tom Spaulding and Debra Jane Seltzer. If you know other photographers building significant collections of neon let me know.

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Taken on December 24, 2006