It's Spring and I'm Blind
During his 12-month tour of America he aimed his camera at this elementary way of advertising with a mixture of compassion and professional curiosity.
Ruud took close-up photographs of the homeless in sober black and white. Only the hands holding the signs are shown. If they are not covered by gloves or mittens they turn out to be the only photographic elements in the images that reveal anything about race, age or sex. The persons themselves remain in the background. We see a segment of sidewalk, now and then some personal belongings or a dog. Due to the lack of recognizable faces everyone is anonymous. Man or woman, young or old, black or white, all those determining factors are left aside.
Through personal messages the homeless vie for attention. A basic, instinctive form of communication to which common laws of advertising nevertheless apply. Ruud Sies is not the first or only person in advertising to take a personal interest in these texts, as will be borne out by the following apocryphal anecdote about a copywriter who effectively adapted a text.