10th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
### Place

"Wall Sign"
By Steve Goldband

About Steve Goldband

Two years ago Steve Goldband won first prize in this contest. Last year he took second, and this year it's third. "I've been slipping," he joked.

Click on photo for larger image.

This year, his prize-winner looks like an abstract painting rather than a photo.

"Part of what I like to do is put the viewer in a pleasant sense of confusion of what they're looking at," Goldband said. "I like the way the picture perplexes viewers in an interesting way. I like the formal structure of it and the way I found something in the natural world that's very geometric in a way that wasn't intended by the people that built it."

In fact, the picture is of a shop sign near the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "It's a sign hanging perpendicular to the front of the shop, and we're looking from across the street at the edge of the sign," he said.

Goldband used a telephoto lens to compress the perspective and make the picture seem flat. The wire from which the sign hangs is an example of this effect. It looks very flat, but in fact reaches quite far forward on the sign.

The red and yellow colors in the photo are the real colors of the sign, but Goldband drained all other colors out in Adobe Photoshop. "That's to create a sense of flight from reality and emphasize the intense colors in the sign that I saw," Goldband said.

A software entrepreneur by profession, Goldband has sold a few pieces and calls himself a "serious amateur" photographer. He took courses in college and was mostly self taught until about three years ago, when he started doing more serious work. He then took courses at the Santa Cruz and Berkeley extensions.

Every few weeks, Goldband goes on a photo-shoot. "I shoot deliberately," he said. "I decide I'm going to go out and I take my camera. The way I shoot, I have to get in a very deliberate, concentrated state."

-- Katharine Miller

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