In the sixties, Ed Ruscha stated that drive-ins and gasoline stations were the landmarks of Los Angeles. For me, billboards became the new landmarks of urban sprawl, exposing the passenger (by car or foot) to a visual bombardment.

Some people hate them, while others love them, but most become blind and lethargic, holding no opinion whether positive or negative. It’s best for the subconscious to soak in the flow of messages.

On my recent trip to L.A., I examined the backs of billboards, and became fascinated by their construction and tones. Like abstract sculptures, they tower above the buildings, hiding their function and content.

These works refer to Walker Evans, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Lewis Baltz and Hiroshi Sugimoto, and also to my series Fourth Wall. There is a theatrical moment in them; it seems as if the billboards are looking at us.

—Klaus Frahm

Editor’s Note: This project was selected as a Finalist in this year’s LensCulture Art Photography Awards. You can browse the other Finalists, as well as the Winners and Jurors’ Picks, here.