Friday, January 18, 2008

Paul Greenleaf's postcards

(This is were [sic] we go in the water you would love it the sun shines all day, hope you are feeling better.)

I just came across Paul Greenleaf's work (via conscientious).

I especially like Correspondence where he takes postcards from about the 1960's and re-photographs the scene - the resulting work includes the new photograph, the picture postcard as well as the original message on the back.

(Here for 8 days on holiday. Having a great time.)

There's always something slightly depressing about most English seaside towns - even at the height of the season (never mind somewhere like Bognor Regis is the middle of winter...) - and yet there's also something about them that attracts - like a moth to a flame. And the ubiquitous holiday postcard "Wish you were here... etc" embodies all of this.

"The ongoing series Correspondence, combines 'found' photography with new photographic work. An initial discovery of old postcards at Greenwich market inspired Paul to retrace and photograph the depicted locations.

'I aim to highlight how the land has changed physically, by neglect, ‘development’ or sometimes coastal erosion, and the way the landscape has changed culturally, illustrating changing trends. The work exposes clichés within these rose-tinted tourist towns and offers a modern day alternative to the picturesque.

( am enjoying every minute of our holiday & am a good girl. We have had lots of sunshine but today is cloudy. We went to Lyme Regis on Monday.)

With the original postcards exhibited alongside the photographs, I invite a direct comparison between the past and present, both being subjective viewpoints. The 21st century ‘reality’ of the locations offers a stark contrast to the often vibrantly coloured dream-like postcard images, revealing a personal view of contemporary Britain.'"

I like the idea of a sort of combination of the re-photographic survey idea and also vernacular photographs - it's at essence a very simple one. And I particularly like the way this is done - it's straightforward and unpretentious, but nicely effective. Some vistas have changed dramatically and yet some have changed hardly at all.

(Had a pretty good journey on wed. A few incidents on route. [sic] Weather perfect so far. Been out all day Thurs & to-day. Rhoda knows lots of beauty spots & loves driving. Sidmouth is not busy at the moment still like it very much – the flat is super. All being as planned return Wed. Will see you soon.)

I can recall walking along that path at Ventor on a trip to the Isle of Wight and my Mother probably has a stack of these old postcards we received over the years, and I can certainly remember sending a good few of them...

(This is our hotel v. posh. We are here till Saturday tripping all over with WALLY (NO COMMENTS PLEASE) the coach driver he and the two old biddies (Bell & her Dozy friend) are a scream!……So see you at 8.30am 2nd Sept till then HAPPY HOLS.)

1 comment:

Luis said...

These re-photography series always have a high strangeness factor, as if time is slightly shifting things around while unobserved.

Another photographer who has done a similar concept, sometimes with postcards, but sans text, is Allen Dutton.

He began doing work rephotographing postcard views and doing longitudinal landscapes (repeateatedly photographing the same places over time) in the '70s, apparently inspired by purchasing an 8x10 camera and a course with Minor White.

He has at least two books:

and the earlier:

Which I have, and can be had for .69 (!!!!). Interesting, and in places Friedlander-ish and Robert Adams-esque.

Here's a review of his show at the Corcoran:

More URLs:

--- Luis