Whenever photographer Victoria Crayhon goes on a road trip, she makes sure to bring along a few packets of marquee letters. That way, if she comes across an old movie or motel marquee sign that looks like it’s seen better days, she can leave her own clever inscription on it. Over the past 14 years, Crayhon has left her roadside messages on signs all across the country and documented them in her brilliant photo series Thoughts On Romance From The Road.
“Usually [the marquees] are blank. Other times they’re really old and still have old letters on them, and I take them off,” Crayhon says. As smaller, second-hand theaters get wiped out by the popularity of megaplexes and Netflix, Crayhorn finds more and more of these theaters for sale or abandoned. Their marquees are like blank canvases for the clever, poetic, sometimes poignant fragments and phrases she draws from her own life. Many of her missives are meant to be the opposite of the advertisements and propaganda that would have adorned these signs in a previous life.
“So much of movies and advertising, and the mentality of media and merchandising, is based on the idea that you find a relationship [and] you stay in it,” Crayhon says. “I’m addressing my life and having different relationships that mean different things to me–these [writings] were fragments from them. They’re little memories of love and romance. But I also want it to be strange and fictitious. They’re like diary entries: banal and sometimes flippant but have a lot of pain under them.”