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Bizarre signs become street art in Copenhagen

  • Story Highlights
  • Doug Lansky has been collecting photos of amusing signs for 17 years
  • The "Signspotting" street exhibition opened in Copenhagen last week
  • Reproducing the life-sized signs from tiny photographs is a painstaking task
  • Each sign was digitally enlarged and mounted on metal poles
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(CNN) -- An unusual exhibition is confusing and amusing tourists and locals in central Copenhagen this month.

Strange signs from around the world can be seen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Strange signs from around the world can be seen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"Signspotting" is a collection of more than 100 signs found by travelers around the world and recreated by travel writer Doug Lansky.

"I wanted it to look as if we'd stolen the sign or someone with a professional camera had taken a really good picture of it," he told CNN. Photo See pictures from Signspotting in Copenhagen. »

Lansky started his collection almost 17 years ago, encouraged by friends who found his photos of strange signs more compelling than his treasured holiday snaps.

As a travel columnist for the Chicago Tribune, he set about collecting photos of as many bizarre signs as he could. Interest in the project became so big that he eventually used them to replace the column itself.

Signspotting Weekly was taken up by six papers, and before he knew it people began to send him pictures of signs they'd seen, eventually enough to fill a floor-to-ceiling cabinet.

The photos filled two volumes of Signspotting books for Lonely Planet. Lansky chose the best for the first exhibition in Stockholm last year.

"I felt bad I hadn't seen them. I knew I wasn't going to go around the world to track it down so I thought I'd do it this way," he said.

Creating the exhibition took hours of painstaking work to digitally enlarge the photos so they looked like the real thing.

"When most of these people sent these signs in they were on a postcard-sized photo and the actual sign was about the size of a postage stamp. To blow them up to this size was tricky," he said.

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The photos were then mounted onto real signs on metal poles standing in concrete bases.

The free exhibition opened in Copenhagen, Denmark last week and will move to Arhus, Denmark on July 1st. Lansky is currently building a second exhibition for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

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