Since my previous post on this project I have reduced the short list of 32 photographs to a final set of 14, shown below.
In consideration of the means of presentation I do not think that a simple set of photographs is the best way to show this work. Whatever one’s own personal response may be, fairgrounds are intended as a place of escape and entertainment. If instead of travelling fairs these were permanent fixtures in a seaside resort, one would conceivably send a postcard to a friend, relative, or even to oneself (I have done just that in the past).
The course notes (p91) show examples from Martin Parr’s “Boring Postcards” photobook. As the course notes say these are not as boring as the title indicates, and will certainly be of interest to someone. If nothing else they will gather historical interest over time as the places they depict change or disappear. However any interest is perhaps accidental; by their nature postcards are produced simply as souvenirs with no purpose beyond saying to someone that “I was there”. I have had the final 14 images printed up as postcards, to try and replicate this idea of intriguing mundanity. The material used in postcard printing gives a the images a more washed-out look than a normal photograph, which I hope will bring the images back into the daily world and assign them less of a pure ‘art’ intention.
Sophie Calle in her work “Take Care of Yourself” asked other women to respond to an email from her boyfriend at the time ending their relationship. My project has little in common with her intentions but I do like the idea of crowdsourcing responses. This combines well with my feeling that purpose of a postcard is to be written and sent. Without that it is just an artifact, and misses out on the real purpose of its existence. I have sent each of the 14 postcards to a friend with a request that they write something on the back and post the card back to me. I have filled in my address and added a stamp so they have no excuse not to at least send it back. I’ve asked everyone to just write a word or words that are suggested to them by the idea of a fair arriving in their locale. When these are returned I want to reproduce both sides of each card in a single image, and use all in my final submission.