Photos by Brian Kaplan entries for Photolucida's Critical Mass 2009
There's something spiritual and surreal about a blank billboard at night -- the simple, glowing rectangle against a dark night sky. It could be a beacon erected by visitors from outer space. Or the voice of God, calling us forth so He can deliver His message. Of course, the purpose of a billboard is to tell us what to believe. A billboard is an advertisement. Like all advertisements, a billboard tells us what we should buy, feeding our consumption-obsessed culture. But a blank billboard turns the traditional goal of advertising on its head, instead telling us: "Live Simply. Don't Buy Anything." When I first started photographing blank billboards, I had to go out searching for them. Now, they seem to find me -- like a character in a narrative who keeps showing up in different scenes. Omnipresent. Always there to deliver its message.