How artists and amateur photographers used postcards to great creative effect

How artists and amateur photographers used postcards to great creative effect

The humble postcard was adored extended prior to any individual imagined they would be in a position to make their possess. So when Eastman Kodak unveiled its product 3A digital camera with postcard-sized negatives in 1903, amateurs and pros alike embraced the new technologies, printing snapshots of their people and neighbourhoods onto sensitised paper with stamp-boxed backing. By the early 20th century, billions of postcards ended up currently being sent in the US each and every year—Eastman Kodak manufactured it much easier for a chunk of these to be home made.

Two exhibitions, opening this thirty day period and following, will reveal the spectrum of photographic prints on postcard paper designed by both equally citizen photojournalists and good artists. André Kertész: Postcards from Paris opens this month at the Large Museum of Art in Atlanta adhering to its run at the Art Institute of Chicago. As the to start with present to target solely on his carte postale prints, it will unite 100 unusual pictures by Kertész sourced from European and North American collections. In March, the Museum of Great Arts (MFA), Boston, will open up True Photo Postcards: Pictures from a Changing Country, showcasing 300 postcards from the Leonard A. Lauder archive held at the museum (it is the third exhibition drawn from Lauder’s intensive selection).

On show at the Higher Museum of Artwork: Mondrian’s Pipe and Glasses (1926) by André Kertész Estate of André Kertész 2021

The Hungarian-born Kertész printed on postcard inventory in the course of his first a long time living in Paris (1925-28), a time when he was adopting distinctive methods to photography, trading prints with new artist good friends, and experimenting with unique variations (these kinds of as developing a portrait of an individual with no displaying the real sitter). Past Kertész exhibitions have lumped his entire Paris 10 years collectively, but “this misses the nuances of that thrilling [early] period of time for him”, claims Liz Siegel, the images and media curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, who organised the exhibit. “This exhibition and catalogue suggest this period of time as a distinct, and distinctly modern, 1.”

During these a few years, Kertész composed his photos a lot more deliberately and tended to collaborate intently with his sitters, who were generally good friends. The prints are rare, like the genuine photograph postcards in Lauder’s selection. “Each print exists both as a unique print or in a little handful that would circulate strictly between pals and family,” Siegel claims. “Or keep with him he held all the things.”

Artists of all kinds observed postcards as fertile soil for experimentation

Benjamin Weiss, curator

Like Kertész, quite a few wonderful artwork photographers applied postcard paper far too, including the likes of Walker Evans, Male Ray and Germaine Krull. “[They] used postcard inventory and the postcard format for all of the explanations that anyone else designed photo postcards,” claims the MFA Boston curator Benjamin Weiss—namely for greeting playing cards and portable reproductions. He adds: “from the beginning, artists of all kinds ended up intrigued by postcards and saw them as fertile soil for experimentation.” But amateurs and aspiring professionals also confirmed outstanding ingenuity in their compositions of the quotidian, as found in the functions introduced jointly in Serious Image Postcards, whether or not it be spectacular road scenes, or light-hearted photos of photographers at perform.

Postcard collections usually concentrate on the mass-printed, making the Lauder archive amongst the most significant institutional holdings of serious photo cards. The images are one of a kind, “[revealing] quieter every day times that, without having these cards, would have been missing to history”, Lauder writes in the catalogue.

André Kertész: Postcards from Paris, Higher Museum of Art, Atlanta, 18 February-29 Could

True Picture Postcards: Photographs from a Changing Nation, Museum of High-quality Arts, Boston, 12 March-25 July