DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt


Giants Among Us

Filed under: Photography: Signs and Displays — Tags: , , , — fred @ 00:25

Princess Pups, 2004, photo by Fred Hatt

New York City is the capital of the advertising business in North America so it is to be expected that commercial imagery is plastered everywhere you look.  The whole city has attention deficit disorder and all kinds of bids for attention have to be extravagant to be noticed at all.  Some of the faces and bodies on the sides of buildings would make King Kong look petite.  This post is a collection of such giants, all taken during the last decade during my daily travels about the city.  On this first one, the face alone is ten stories tall!

Towering Redhead, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Leggy, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Computer-printed vinyl banner or wrap technology is the main way it’s done in our era, but enormous figures on walls have been a part of the New York streetscape for a long time, as evidenced by this 1960’s smoking playboy, brought to light when a building that had been covering him for decades was demolished:

Smoker, 2002, photo by Fred Hatt

That one’s painted directly on the brick wall, by painters dangling from the side of the building like window washers.  The classic craft of the billboard painter is rare now but not gone.  Hand-painted giants are still to be seen in New York:

Heat, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Here a hand-painted billboard is seen through a fence upon which tiles have been hung in a memorial for the World Trade Center tragedy:

Stars and Lashes, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt

It always seems to me that a huge proportion of these oversized wall images are sexually provocative beautiful people, but maybe those are just the ones I notice.  Here’s Hilary Swank swooning like Bernini’s St. Teresa:

Ecstasy, 2004, photo by Fred Hatt

Male sex gods are always seen towering over this new nightlife area in a part of town that used to be devoted to wholesaling meat.  Well, I guess it still is:

Meatpacking District, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

And what sells shoes better than foot fetishism on a Brobdingnagian scale:

Foot Worship, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt

I think some of it is just to shock the country people that come to the city as tourists:

Reba, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt

But surely if you want to cover up an ugly remodeling job on a fancy shopping street, a near-nude hottie will do the trick:

Lingerie, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt

This example of the same is surely sexual, but what the heck is going on here?

Expansion, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt

There’s something eerie about colossal figures seen looming behind trees.  Here are three lovely examples:

Oiled, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Adonis, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt

Romance, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

The legendary Plaza Hotel is all class, so they shielded their condo conversion work with an elegant and demure giant billboard.  Sadly, this development suffered the same fate as most of the other bubble-borne building projects of the late zeroes:

Plaza Conversion, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

Huge still images are so widespread in the city that more advertisers are investing in monster-sized video screens.  This one reminds me, a bit creepily, that we are all under constant surveillance:

Big Brother, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

But when I’m stuck in automotive gridlock, a giant cat face cheers me up a bit!

Cat Truck, 2007, photo by Fred Hatt

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