After a spur of the moment trip to Burning Man I’ve restarted my photographic explorations of the city. Seems my prophesy in Temporary Ghost Advertising Zone was correct – they did replace the billboard and cover up the old Coca Cola sign underneath. See you again in five to seven years old friend.
1018 Mission Street at Sixth Street; a five story SRO dating to 1911 and currently operating under the name Kean Hotel. Clear Channel recently removed a vandalized, weathered, and unused billboard from the building’s western wall temporarily revealing the long-hidden Coca Cola sign underneath. Will this sign remain visible for long? I’m guessing not. The billboard re/deinstallers never removed their scaffolding/platforms so I assume they intend to return and finish the job – and by “finish” I mean install a bigger and better billboard. Either that or they really, really wants someone to climb onto it and tag over the ghost sign.
This is actually one of two Coca Cola ghost signs on 1018 Mission Street. The other sign can be seen on the eastern wall facing towards 6th street. Both appear to be of a similar vintage. And what is that vintage? Well, they both feature the iconic “contour bottle” which was adopted in 1916 so they’re definitely no older than that (remember, the building is from 1911). However, it seems that until the mid-30′s a significant portion of Coca Cola’s advertising involved their soda served in a glass with the contour bottle gaining visual dominance somewhere in the late 30′s to late 40′s. So, if I had to make a vague, grasping, quasi-educated guess, I would put these ghost signs at the late 30′s through the late 40′s. Any Coca Cola experts care to further pinpoint the date?
The other weekend I went to Sunday Streets in the Bayview district. I have a soft spot for the Bayview; probably because it reminds me of my own neighborhood in Oakland. There’s a symmetry between the two – in the sagging Victorians and the underused industrial spaces, in the treeless sidewalks and the pitted streets and the patina of socio-economic neglect. There’s also a certain quiet stoicism to both neighborhoods. A feeling that the streets are patiently biding their time; waiting, disinterestedly, for their potential futures to manifest.
Or not. Underprivileged and overexploited light industrial/mixed use neighborhoods will always exist. The name may change but there will always be a “Bayveiw”.
I came away from Sunday Streets having found two random spots that spoke to me. Generally I don’t photograph people and I don’t photograph Big Important Buildings. I’m drawn instead to small details and tiny tensions and stories that trail off without…………… Both these sites fit that criteria; although in my opinion the photographs themselves fall a bit short artistically. Continue reading