License to Show Your ND Pride

So, uh, no secret that I’m amused by the minutiae, the little things that go mostly unnoticed, like, say, cornerstones.

So for several years, whenever I stumbled on a ND-themed vanity license plate I shot a photo of it. I never went out of my way to look for ’em, either. If they were within a pace or two of where I was going anyway, I’d pause long enough to make one or two frames and keep on truckin’. Why does this amuse me? Well, first there’s the geographic diversity, and second is the challenge of saying something creative in a small space. Forget Twitter…what’s the challenge of 140 characters? Say it in 7!

So once the collection reached a couple dozen, I mentioned it to Kerry Temple, editor of Notre Dame Magazine. He was kind enough to publish them on the back cover of the most recent issue of the magazine. One concern we checked out, though, was whether it was legal to photograph and publish license plates. Fortunately we got the green light from the General Counsel. I asked my colleagues in the University Photographers Association of America if anyone else had ever done something similar and one of them answered, “Well, if it is illegal, you’ll be MAKING license plates instead of photographing them.” Heh.

-Matt Cashore