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. 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.
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 consul-tancy futureflair.
Step Inside Design:
"Sometimes beautiful, at times outlandish or bizarre, these postcards portray the optimism, sincerity, and stark reality of their time . . . the book is an interesting and quite personal look at a time long gone."
Art New England:
"Eccentric in the extreme, Real Photo Postcards is a strangely loving portrait of one collector's obsession with this craze from the early 1900s."
"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. . . . This volume offers a unique glimpse of the early 20th century through the eyes of the everyman."
New England Antiques Journal:
"A collection of the most outlandish and idiosyncratic, beautiful and even occasionally bizarre images of this early postcard period. Together these cards show an oddly personal and intimate perspective of America at the turn of the twentieth century."
real photo postcards (rating 5 out of 5):
The book gave me an incredibly rich perspective on Americana, which I've been collecting for years with devotion, mostly paper. It was so interesting to see such a high level of photographic ephemera. I think this book is going to become both an educational reference and a really entertaining source to have in one's library. Thank you. Robert Glencourt