In the early 20th century, the popularity of the pocket camera in America led to a wave of DIY postcards. The snapshots depicted anything that the sender wanted to share with remote friends or colleagues, from family snapshots to amateur photojournalism. According to former BB guestblogger Mark Dery
, real-photo postcards "are transmissions from the postmortem Internet," and they definitely have the feel of a visual Tweet shared with one's social network. In the Las Vegas Weekly, Dery reviews a recent book on the topic, Folk Photography: The American Real-Photo Postcard 1905-1930, by Luc Sante, author of the seminal account of New York City's underbelly in the early 1900s, Low Life
. Dery's review of the book makes me want to start collecting Real-Photo Postcards. Me and everyone else, I'm sure. From Dery's essay, titled "Ghost Cards":
In one of those harmonic convergences of popular desire, profit motive, and governmental intervention that punctuate media history, the emergence of the real-photo postcard as the cell-phone snapshot of small-town America was the result of Kodak’s rollout, in 1903, of its cheap, easy-to-use No. 3A Folding Pocket model; the U.S. Postal Service’s introduction, in 1905, of the penny rate for postcards; and the growing penetration of Rural Free Delivery into heartland America.
To Sante, these postcards constitute a “ghost telegraph,” as he told a radio interviewer. In Folk Photography, he writes, “The real-photo card was typically a product of the small town, particularly the small town isolated on the plains, whose newspaper did not have the capacity to reproduce half-tones, and whose lonely citizens felt an urgent need to communicate with absent friends, distant in those days even if they lived only three stops down the railroad line.” Like the blues, field hollers, chain-gang songs and other folkways of Old Weird America, real-photo postcards served as a social network, a kind of Basement Tapes of the backwoods unconscious, reporting local news, memorializing personal tragedies, scrapbooking sentimental moments.
"Ghost cards: Thanks to Folk Photography, at long last, we’ve got mail
" (Las Vegas Weekly)
Folk Photography: The American Real-Photo Postcard 1905-1930 (Amazon)
Since 2015, our family has been in love with Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and Her Unicorn books, a kind of modern take on Calvin and Hobbes, only Calvin is an awesome little girl, Hobbes is a unicorn, and the parental figures can see and interact with the unicorn, but are not freaked out because she generates a SHIELD OF BORINGNESS. Now, the insanely prolific Simpson has released the fourth collection in the series: Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure.
It’s been more than 20 years since the publication of Making Book, Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s collection of essays, mostly drawn from the pre-online days of fanzines and letters columns; this year, in honor of Teresa’s stint as Fan Guest of Honor at Midamericon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, NESFA Press has published a second volume: Making Conversation, a collection of essays drawn from the online world on subjects as varied as moderation and trolling, cooking, hamster-rearing, fanfic, narcolepsy, the engineering marvels of the IBM Selectric, and more.
Review Meta has published an in-depth analysis of 7 million Amazon reviews and found that “incentivized reviews,” those with a disclaimer that the reviewer got the product free or discounted, skew substantially higher than non-incentivized reviews.
If you own a dog, you’ve most likely heard of BarkBox – the monthly subscription box for dogs. What started as a simple idea to try out the subscription model on pet owners has since developed a cult following of dog lovers. If you haven’t given it a try yet, this one month free deal is the […]
With the iPhone headphone jack having gone by the wayside, we’re excited about the addition of the FRANKLIN Bluetooth Headphones in our store. These headphones are foldable so they’re easy to carry around, but most importantly, they pack impressive sound. Our biggest struggle with Bluetooth headphones is the worry of them dying at the worst moment. This pair lasts an impressive 8-10 […]
Evan Kimbrell, founder of the digital agency Sprintkick, recently released a series of online courses that feature some of the best advice we’ve come across. These courses are well worth your time, and will save you from making many typical mistakes down the line if you ever want to start your own business.With this Business […]