Synopses & Reviews
It may be hard to believe, but there actually was a time when the postcard image was not a clich. To reach it, you'll have to set your clock back to the end of the nineteenth century, when an Act of Congress allowed Americans to mail a card for just one cent. A few years later, Kodak introduced an easy-to-use and affordable folding camera that put postcard power into the hands of ordinary citizens, setting off a craze. Real Photo Postcards
is a collection of the most outlandish and idiosyncratic, beautiful and even occasionally bizarre images of this early postcard period.
Painstakingly assembled from the collection of Harvey Tulcensky, one of the world's most avid collectors of these original postcards, Real Photo Postcards includes images of natural phenomena (floods, storms, fires), Main Street America, rural life, political parades, and wacky "exaggeration" cards (such as a photographically manipulated giant rabbit!). Together these cards show an oddly personal and intimate perspective of America at the turn of the 20th century.
"Sometimes the detritus of human history, that which was meant to be disposed of and forgotten, carries a greater and more lasting impact than those artifacts saved specifically for their purported historical value. In 1907 the U.S. Postal Service made an abrupt reversal of a law forbidding messages from being written on the backs of postcards. This change, coinciding with Kodak's introduction of an affordable, easy-to-use portable camera that printed out photographs onto heavy card stock, inspired a flurry of homespun postcards akin to the current digital photography craze. Because the photos were one-of-a-kind snapshots, produced predominantly by ordinary folks whose goal was to send a frozen moment, a fond wish or just a giggle to a friend or loved one, they tend toward an authenticity and an idiosyncrasy often lacking in more professional photographs of the day. These 'real photo postcards' come from the extensive collection of artist Tulcensky; editor Wolff captions the photos with observations or notes from their backs, but mostly just lets these remarkable images speak for themselves. Organized into categories like 'Parading,' 'Romance,' 'Disasters' and 'Uncanny,' this volume offers a unique glimpse of the early 20th century through the eyes of the everyman." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
It may be hard to believe, but there actually was a time when the postcard image was not a cliche. To reach it, you'll have to set your clock back to the end of the nineteenth century, when an Act of Congress allowed Americans to mail a card for just one cent. A few years later, Kodak introduced an easy-to-use and affordable folding camera that put postcard power into the hands of ordinary citizens, setting off a craze.
About the Author
Harvey Tulcensky is a New York- based artist whose work is included in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art. Tulcensky has been collecting postcards for over 20 years.
Laetitia Wolff is the design editor of Surface magazine, the former editor of Graphis, and an international consultant on design trends and culture. She is the founder of the creative consultancy futureflair.