Mar 5, 2009

Postcards: Uniquely American Art

Slate has a neat slideshow/article about postcards. I've never thought about it, but postcards are a surprisingly unique artform. Sure, they are mass-produced. Sure, they tend to be boring views of streets or uninteresting pictures of towns and events. However, postcards have that added layer--they aren't only a boring picture; they're also personalized letters. On the town square in Crown Point, there are many shops that sell old postcards. Most already have writing on them, which is the best part. You can see what people had to say a century ago. My family has one postcard from my great-grandfather when he was away from home. It simply says that he'll be catching an evening train back to Indiana. There are postcards between my parents and friends, however, that betray a deep longing to see or hear from each other. Postcards, taken by themselves, are only notorious for their blandness. Add what people have contributed to them, however, and you gain a remarkably interesting and complex artform.

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