In this photograph, business cards stapled to a flat surface advertise a dizzying array of services, providing one view of the commercial and community offerings of Broward County, Florida, in 1989: welding, plumbing, painting, roofing, flooring, landscaping, snow removal, submersible pumps, sprinkler systems, ophthalmologists, restaurants, local churches, DJs, trucking companies, shoe stores, fruit and vegetable wholesalers, assisted living facilities, meat and cheese distributors, cleaning services, demolition services, equipment rentals, window lettering, and car repair shops.
One business card appears multiple times; many cards partially cover others; several cards have been torn away, leaving behind only a stapled corner as a remnant. In one hand-written note, a truck driver searches for work. Rust from the staples suggest that this board was perhaps located outside and thus more viewable to passersby. In 1989, Michael A. Smith traveled to Broward County, Florida, to carry out an Art in Public Places commission. As an artist who had already worked extensively across the United States photographing the diner counters and backyards of Toledo, Ohio, and the city roofs and Cajun bakeries of New Orleans, Louisiana, Smith produced many photographs of Broward County that remain startling in their intimacy and immediacy.
For a timeline of Smith’s career, see Michael A. Smith, Michael A. Smith: A Visual Journey: Photographs from Twenty-Five Years (Revere, Pennsylvania: Lodima Press, 1992).