Postcards

I collect postcards produced from around 1900 up to the First World War. Millions of postcards were exchanged during this period, and while many were produced anonymously, they amount to a powerful pictorial force, that scholars are only now taking seriously. I’m particularly interested in how, with this first appearance of picture postcards, visual imagery entered into a communicative system.  During the initial "undivided back" era, people who bought postcards would often annotate and inscribe messages directly onto the photographic imagery. The first postcards weren’t necessarily touristic, but rather friends and family living in the same town or region would buy, send, and collect them; the postcard craze involved an everyday traffic in images.  It is worth noting that picture postcards emerge almost exactly at the same moment as the cinema; both are symptoms of a visual culture that sets images in motion. To be a postcard collector or deltiologist is inevitably to enter a world of categories; some of my postcard categories are: written-on postcards; amateur real photos; the language of flowers and other "language of" series; Reutlinger, Bergeret, and other allegorical women; communicative landscapes; fantastical lunar imagery… etc.

Publications

"Networked landscapes: early postcards, communication practices, and experiments with genre." Paper given at Portable Landscapes conference, University of Durham, UK, July 2015.

"Melanie Smith’s Regime of Unruly Things." In Melanie Smith: Short Circuit. Stuttgart: Villa Merkel, 2013. 38-43. PDF

"Postcards and the Chromophilic Visual Culture of Expo 67." In Expo 67: Not Just a Souvenir. Edited by Rhona Richman Kenneally and Johanne Sloan. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010. PDF

"Modern Moon Rising: Imagining Aerospace in Early Picture Postcards." In Strange Spaces: Geographical Explorations into Mediated Obscurity. Edited by André Jansson and Amanda Lagerkvist. London: Ashgate Press, 2009. PDF

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