The first time Israeli photographer Natan Dvir set foot in New York in 1997, he was struck by its scale—the skyscrapers stretching as far as the eye could see. When he moved to New York a number of years later, he noted that “a kaleidoscopic net of huge billboards has enveloped the commercial hubs of New York City. The branding of the cityscape has become so ubiquitous, that the colorful, monumental advertisements, looming over the narrow streets, seem to be virtually unnoticed by the passersby.”
In his series Coming Soon, Dvir documents this strange and at times humorous juxtaposition between the gargantuan models inhabiting these glossy billboards and the ant-like pedestrians below.
The hulking advertisements serve a practical purpose—blocking construction sites from view—but their omnipresence at the same time makes daily life and the daily commute look like the backdrop of a commercial or movie set. In photographs, it looks and acts like a parallel reality to the daily grind. A more glamorous one.
You can’t escape these billboards, which engulf pedestrians and make them involuntary spectators.
“The ephemeral nature, massive size and saturated colors of the ads create a fluid cinematic experience for the observer. People inhabiting the space underneath are pulled, unaware, into a staged set, the reality of the street merging with the commercial fantasy of the advertisements,” Dvir wrote in a statement.