A sign is a pointer or a provider of information. It tells us something, it gives us a direction or, at least, offers us one. All sensory phenomena are an aggregate of information, but not all sensory phenomena are formal signs (try to imagine what that would be like, Deanna Troi!), providing information according to a standard varying by language and culture.

Most of the signs in the gallery are formal signs. We recognize them as providing information which may have been of use to us had we been "there" and we understand the need for them where they are found. Many are signs intended for travelers and appear in places where travelers would "use" them. But, in a sense, we're all travelers, whenever we step outside our front door, and we're in need of information. That this need is met voluminously isn't surprising -- the need to offer information is as basic as the need for it -- the need to "sell" is as essential as the need to "buy".

There is a curiosity factor in many of these signs. Otherwise why would I have taken the picture? There aren't many road signs here although elsewhere (perhaps on our own roads) we've met some exotic ones. Not all signs are in English and not all offer conventional information. For example, the proclamation of the divine origin of Darius and Xerxes isn't the same kind of useful information that tells us where we can get tickets for our trip to Athens (not to mention that it's also in three little-known languages), but it carries information that has another kind of resonance. There are also nonverbal signs -- the prayer wheel spun by a mountain trickle is a poem in motion.

In some photographs the sign is in the background and not specifically relevant to the main subject -- but presents a cultural contrast which enhances the main subject or places it in a different context.

Some of the signs in this gallery appear also in their native galleries. Obviously, web-designer Linda and I like them a lot.