The stamp of fantasy


I picked this book up in the Fox Talbot Museum at Lacock just after starting the DIC course.  I always look through the photography books when I visit the museum but I am rarely moved to make an actual purchase.  This book however, was so visually striking, and it tied so neatly in with my preliminary reading for the course, that I just couldn’t resist it.

The book showcases early 20th century postcards, which may not at first seem like an obvious companion to a course about digital images.  It contains so many beautiful examples of photographic manipulation however, that it is well worth considering in this context.

Part one of the DIC course, discusses the origins of photomontage, and specifically, how the photograph has been subject to manipulation since its earliest days.  In the early 1900s, postcard publishers brought out what they called “fantasy postcards”, which were created using techniques such as “montage, superimposition, multiple exposure, optic distortion and the large format negative, all common amongst professionals but not yet known to the general public” (Chéroux & Eskildsen, 2007).  This book then, is a fascinating window into early photographic manipulation.

The postcards illustrated within the book are just stunning.  I look at the images and I think about what you could recreate today, in a digital world.  From even my first quick glance at the book, I was starting to generate new ideas; the different fantasy postcards providing a starting point for future projects.  Specifically, I have some interesting new ideas that I might try for assignment one.  Ideas, that I would never have had without this book to provide the inspiration.

Chéroux, C. & Eskildsen, U. (2007) The stamp of fantasy: the visual inventiveness of photographic postcards. Steidl: Göttingen.