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Chris Campe, »Hamburg Alphabet«, Ausgabe 2010 und 2020

You have to look closely to spot the differences on the cover of the two editions of »Hamburg Alphabet«

Hamburg Alphabet

Shop Signs in Hamburg – 2010 und 2020

In 2009 I went to Vienna for the first time and was amazed with all the vintage signage in the city. When I got home, I began to hunt old neon signs and facade lettering in Hamburg, too. Over the course of a year I cycled 1547 km, photographed over 1000 different signs and published the photo book »Hamburg Alphabet«. It showcases 220 of Hamburg’s most remarkable signs – in alphabetical order.

But like every portrait, »Hamburg Alphabet« was a snapshot of a specific moment. Since the book came out in 2010, the city changed a lot. That’s why I published an updated version for the book’s tenth anniversary in 2020. The layout stayed the same, I just exchanged the photos.

Comparing the two books side by side shows: About 40 percent of the signs I photographed in 2010 were gone in 2020. Some of them have been replaced by more contemporary ones, sometimes all that is left is an empty, renovated wall, and sometimes not only the sign is gone, but the whole building it was on.

Store signs and facade signage are just one detail of the cityscape. But the focus on the changes in Hamburg’s typographic surface allows conclusions to be drawn about the structural upheavals that lie behind them. The before-and-after images  demonstrate the traces that the change in commercial structures and consumer behavior has left in the cityscape.

If you enjoy looking at vintage signage, the 2010 edition of »Hamburg Alphabet« is for you. If you are also interested in city history, you might want to have both books and leaf through them in parallel to compare the before-and-after photos.

Chris Campe, »Hamburg Alphabet«, Ausgabe 2010 und 2020

Right on the first page the development is obvious: Many of the signs from the 2010 original edition of »Hamburg Alphabet« have disappeared in the meantime.

About the book

Hamburg Alphabet, 2010 edition

Hamburg’s Shop Signs from A to Z

96 pages with 220 photos
hardcover, 17 x 12 cm
1. edition 2010
Junius Verlag

ISBN 978-3-88506-466-4
14,90 Euros

You can order the book in any bookshop
or order it from me via e-mail chris@allthingsletters.com

Hamburg Alphabet, 2020 edition

Hamburg’s Shop Signs ten years later

96 pages with 220 photos
hardcover, 17 x 12 cm
1. edition 2020
Selfpublished without ISBN

To order please send me an e-mail to chris@allthingsletters.com

14,90 Euros
plus shipping: Germany 3 Euros
Europa 5 Euros, worldwide 9 Euros

Order a copy of »Hamburg Alphabet«
Chris Campe, »Hamburg Alphabet«, Ausgabe 2010 und 2020

Don’t worry, the sign of the »DOM« fun fair is still there, it was just taken down when it’s location was renovated.

Chris Campe, »Hamburg Alphabet«, Ausgabe 2010 und 2020

In some cases not only the sign disappeared since 2010, but the whole building.

Hamburg Alphabet, ein Fotobuch von Chris Campe

The Barbecue-signs were so pretty that I gave them their own double page in the book.

Hamburg Alphabet, ein Fotobuch von Chris Campe

Absolutely essential in Hamburg: Fish shops.

Hamburg Alphabet, ein Fotobuch von Chris Campe

The Hamburg piers »Landungsbrücken« – sure, they are still there, as is the subway station that carries the name. But who knew that Hamburg used to have several reader’s circles!

Order a copy of »Hamburg Alphabet«