Monday, April 14, 2014

Little Talks

Did you know that cities have languages? That each one has their own individual parlance that reflects the mood, the civic order, the weak and strong points of a town. This language is not spoken (though of course there is always that), but rather written all over its sidewalks, electrical boxes, murals, street signs and on the walls of its abandoned houses.

I like collecting these writings wherever I'm visiting, because I feel like they offer insights into the layers of history and the true character of a city. Whether they be cool murals, illegal graffiti, signs from long ago businesses, or words chalked onto the sidewalk, the words of a city speak for themselves. Here's a choice few from Portland.

The cliche wall…

The cheapest form of advertising.

Kill your TV.


Post 93.

Where Freud drank.

Because milk is just ice-cream waiting for its true purpose in life to be revealed?

The essentials.

Screw highway signs.

Mayhym? Project Mayhym?

Public services.

A common mistake. Still, thanks Portland.

I will.

Got a favorite piece of street art? I used to live in London in the early days of Banky's reign and spotting the works of the then obscure artist was the best way to pass the time in East End. 


  1. Indeed Milla, this is such a good way to observe and understand a city - I have been photographing street art in Montréal for several years, in fact, and I was planning a whole post on that, one of these days... But I must get to the end of my current story first! It looks like there will be four chapters in all... Meanwhile it's good to stroll around Portland in your company :o)

  2. Awesome. I do sometimes spot writings and old signs around placerville that I'd oddly never noticed before; I love the idea of thinking of these as a towns parlance. Will take more notice now!

  3. I laughed to see The Oregon Theater. My friend lives near to it and she said that when she moved into her place about 12 years ago it was an eyesore----however, now that her area has experienced some serious gentrification (masses of unaffordable condos going in, snooty wine bars, expensive boutiques) she views the theater as a charming vestige of the quirky old neighborhood the area once was. Funny how perspective can change...

    1. That is awesome! You don't live in P-land do ya? I woulda loved to see you. That's exactly what happens with gentrification. It's just such a fascinating thing, as there are plusses and minuses, but ultimately, often in the end the city or neighborhood just becomes white, homegenic and middle class and looses its original character. Say hi to your friend for me <3