The word ‘postcard’ has always had some negative connotations amongst the vast majority of landscape photographers. After many decades of being confronted by tacky stalls selling them standing out on the sidewalks of most touristic destinations, filled with dog-eared cards in gaudy colours fading from the action of the UV light, showing banal landscapes under the bright light of noon and ‘wish you were here’ written in pink on a perfectly beautiful blue sky, these pejorative connotations can be understood. The term ‘postcard’, however, is much broader and should not be limited by this particular pre-conception, since it refers in fact to a certain register of photography, intended to transmit a certain kind of message with a very particular purpose.
A postcard is an image which is supposed to illustrate and document a certain locale, with the objective of making a certain segment of the population dream about that very place and letting them imagine what they would see had they the chance to travel there. Sure, a certain level of idealisation is taken on board, and that is why postcards are typically made in conditions of light and weather, which are thought to increase their alluring effect on the target audience.
When that target audience is tourists and families wanting to spend a great day at the beach with some ice cream or going to do some hiking in the Alps, these conditions typically include sunny skies, fluffy clouds and the brightest light of the day.
Postcards can be made for other target audiences, however, and still be postcards... [vision_notification style="tip" font_size="20px"]Read the whole article inside issue 69.[/vision_notification]