The title originates from a slogan CBS Outdoors used in their own advertising campaign claiming their methods were ‘certain’ to persuade the audience’s way of thinking. I was interested how advertising worked within the public space, especially the humble street billboard. I would travel to locations in London at night where I had previously seen old billboards, sometimes on the street or at underground stations. I would then make photographs using controlled portable strobe lighting.
Around that time, I discovered the work of the mid 20th century French artist, Jacques Villeglé (1926-2022), attending a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Pompidou Centre, Paris (2008/2009). He sourced old billboards from the street and through a process of décollage would reinvent them. With fragments of the original text, slivers of imagery and graphic design remaining, they were no longer decipherable as the advertisements they once were.
As a continuation of the same theme, I would make night walks through Greater London between 2009-11, a nocturnal advertising flaneur, so to say. Travelling to a destination of a Tube line I would then return towards Central London on foot, and during the journey I would photograph the back-lit revolving billboards I encountered. The titles of the images I made corresponded with the exact time the photograph was taken, according to the digital image file, acknowledging the ‘certainty’ of advertising as part of our lives, referencing the CBS Outdoor campaign that initiated the work.
As I revisit the work in 2023, I am experimenting with developing the imagery as screen prints.