Hello, and welcome to another installment of my surprising category of adventures entitled: “I’m on a Billboard?!” You may remember the shocking first example, “I’m on a Billboard in West Africa?!” in which a friend driving through Ghana randomly spotted my face on a huge highway sign advertising a nearby restaurant. While I do indeed love Ghanaian food, I’d never heard of the restaurant advertised, nor given them permission to use my face! That was a strange billboard situation.
The second chapter of my illustrious billboard career was more consensual: “My Photo is Now a Massive Mural at Wegmans?!” documents how the grocery store chain, Wegmans, contacted me to purchase a photo I’d taken of Rockport, Massachusetts to splash across an entire side of their new Natick, MA branch. I very much enjoyed that photographic display escapade, and people still message me that they wave at my mural every time they shop at that store.
Ready now for the third chapter of this billboard saga? Hint: I was the one who took the photo, but it’s not me who’s in it…
Yes that’s right: as you can see from that photo, my 8-year-old son has now gotten into the giant billboard game! Let’s back up for a moment to recap how he came to be on a 20-foot-high sign along highways and train stations throughout New England.
Earlier this year, the fine folks at Visit Massachusetts (our state’s tourism board) reached out to me about a certain brightly-colored photo from my article about the joys of Mass MoCA, the modern art museum in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. I’d taken the photo over five years ago, back when my little guy was a toddling 3-year-old, racing around the museum to point at all the paintings.
Visit MA asked: Would I sell the photo (maintaining my rights to it) to help with the tourism campaign? If my son’s face had been clearly shown, I would have likely declined for privacy reasons — but just showing his cute little back? No problem! I dug deep into my photo backup hard-drives (always save your raw pictures), at last found the high resolution file, and made the sale.
At the time of this writing, you can spot my photo featuring my son on these billboards around Rhode Island, Albany, and on Amtrak trains. It feels great to be part of a campaign to spread the word about Massachusetts, the state I love — from Mount Greylock and Bash Bish Falls in the west, to Northampton and Old Sturbridge Village in the middle, to Woods Hole and Provincetown in the east. If you see one of these billboards in the wild, feel free message me a photo, or tag @WorldLillie on social media.
I hope to be part of many more (consensual, please) billboards and other publication opportunities in the future, so if you or someone you know is looking to purchase a photo, do reach out!
I also do videos! Want to see me in a tourism video for Folly Beach, SC? Click that link…
Special thanks to the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism for providing photos of our billboard.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!