We look through the eyes of Jeff, a ‘subvertiser’ from Bristol. He changes advertising slogans to make them into anti-war or anti capitalist messages… presenting his alternative slant on the world.
Jeff carries a camera everywhere he goes, looking out for billboards to change.
Working with friends he’ll design and create a new picture and message.
It’s become so popular he now runs ‘subvertising’ workshops, and likes to think he’s presenting people with a different message than the one they see in newspapers and on TV.
Even if his slogan and pictures are only up for a day they are seen by thousands.
“Bristol has always been a focus for counter-culture, it’s what attracted me here in the first place. I see myself as part of that counter-culture,” says Jeff.
Throughout June 2006, BBC Radio Bristol broadcast a series called Through My Eyes in partnership with CSV, featuring recordings of ordinary and extraordinary people who live and work in Bristol.
The sound was exhibited at Watershed and in local libraries, along with specially-commissioned photographs by students from Filton College.
Following the exhibition, the recordings and photographs were put together by Bristol Stories staff and made available on this site.
Thanks to Vikki Klein and Debra Hearne from BBC Radio Bristol.
[Sound of a photocopier]
My name’s Jeff and I’m responsible for altering billboards in Bristol, changing the advertiser’s slogan to one that is generally anti-war, anti-capitalist and presenting an alternative view of the world.
The focus for that was the Afghan war which I was really opposed to. I wanted to make a statement that was different from going on a demonstration or a petition, and make a visual statement, so I altered a billboard in Bedminster which had a Stop the War logo on it: “The One” where we changed it to “The Clones” and added the faces of Bush and Blair to make the point.
I went back the next day to photograph a billboard and it was being changed and I was taking photographs and the bloke initially didn’t really want to speak to me, he said “Oh, no, no no. I don’t want to get involved. I’m not having a political discussion.” but he did start speaking to me and he went on to say “These people are organised. This is not just a couple of blokes coming home from the pub. These, these people are professionals!” so I was very chuffed by that.
I always carry a camera and look out for billboards – suitable billboards that can be changed. Sometimes I see a billboard that I’m not sure what to do with, and a group of us will get together and have a bit of a brainstorming session. I’d like to think that we are presenting an alternative view; the posters are seen by many thousands of people, even if they only stay up for a day. I like to think that we are bringing people’s attention to an alternative message and we have done quite a few workshops now: subvertising workshops, so that is a good way of spreading ideas.
[Sound of step ladder and gluing paper onto a billboard]
It’s one more thing that may make people think that the standard view of the world that we are presented with through newspapers and TV is not the only one.
I see myself as part of the alternative culture of Bristol. Bristol has always been a focus for a counter culture; it’s one of the things that attracts me towards Bristol and one of the things that makes me stay here.
All photographs not otherwise credited created by Jeff, used under copyright licence.
All sound recording not otherwise credited created by BBC Radio Bristol, used under copyright licence.