Billboards are like that know-it-all kid you suffered at school: loud, full of trivial information and desperate to be seen. Maybe you were able to ignore that kid. Maybe you learned the odd thing from them in spite of yourself. Or maybe that kid annoyed you so much you couldn’t wait for opportunities to expose their vulnerabilities.
The Other Side of Billboards kind of encompasses all of those feelings. At first glance, the Flickr group, which is dedicated to amassing photos of – you guessed it – the sides of billboards without the message, seems to have a fairly self-explanatory objective.
But sit with these photos a little longer and a host of questions, interpretations and comparisons floats to the surface. What is a billboard? A means of communication? Of aggravation? A way for humans to dupe, ensnare and belittle each other? Or are billboards more than advertising? A cry for attention? For validation? An attempt to have order, pleasantness, and unity in a world of chaos?
Whatever answer you may arrive at, the one fact we can all glean from these photos is that billboards are endlessly varied attempts at communication, that prop themselves up with exposed, vulnerable supports. Ones worth checking out from time to time.