An obsession with the letters IAN
Have you ever noticed how many times the three letters ‘IAN’ appear together around you in signage, wherever you live? For ThatIanBloke, these three letters obviously have far greater significance than most and has been something that he has been collecting for years.
So, what’s all this about collecting ‘IANs’ then?
I love typography and take pictures of signs that have my name in it, cropping in specifically to the letters IAN.
When did you start?
My parents have pictures of me in the mid-70s pointing at IAN signage. The first one I shot myself was on a school trip to France – it was a Heyfordian bus.
When do you collect them?
Most days. There’s always something – an Indian restaurant, a piano shop, a pedestrian sign, a brilliant giant sale at an alliance of utopian radiant victorian opticians – you get the idea. There are more than 900 words in English that contain the letters IAN.
How many have you got?
Hundreds. Most of them are analogue, but in recent years I have gone digital, either using my digital cameras or my iPhone.
Which is your favourite IAN?
I collected loads on a three-month trip to Italy in 2005. I have a lovely Venetian mosaic (above) that was in the pavement of St Mark’s Square in Venice.
Does anybody else collect them with you?
My two girls like spotting them and yelling them out. My wife loves that.
Have you ever been reprimanded for photographing an IAN?
Several times. I once stood on a pew in the Vatican when they were in Papal conclave and got told to leave. For some reason.
What do you love most about collecting various IANs?
As a designer, it’s about typography, colour and aesthetic. As a photographer, it’s about scuffs, dirt and composition. As a person, it makes me more aware of my surroundings.