Postcard views

I have chosen ten postcards; eight are of places I have visited, with the other two being postcards received from someone else of places I do not personally know.

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All ten make a real effort to minimise any idea of other people being present. The cards from Plymouth, Fowey, Kynance cove and Beer all do show people but only in the distance. The aim seems to be to show the landscape with minimal human presence – to emphasise that the viewer is the centre of the environment. All choose a sunny day for the image, to suggest a summer’s day. However I know from personal experience that in summer there are usually a lot more people around than are shown in these images. The Beer, Fowey and Kynance images are all taken from a high point of view, looking down on the landscape. This will emphasise the idea that the viewer ‘owns’ the scene. The Plymouth card has a different emphasis; here the photo places the boats in the foreground and uses the water in the marina as a barrier to separate the viewer from the other people. Like the others though it is using distance to generate the idea that the viewer is separate from other visitors.

The cards from Ravello and Chile are perhaps the most conventional; multiple images in a grid, as a selection from the overall place rather than a single impression. It provides more of an idea of the card as souvenir than the others because of this use of multiple images. At the same time it moves away from my own impressions of the place; although Ravello is not a particularly big place, the locations depicted here are not as close to each other as the card would suggest. In contrast Torres Del Paine is huge and the chances of getting this close to the animals depicted are slim to none. It is very much an idealistic view; if you spent long enough you might see them!

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