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One of the most tiresome aspects of modern life is having to look at people’s thoroughly generic tourist photos on the Internet all the time.  No holiday can be properly deemed to have occurred without a vast portfolio of evidence being constructed. The simple act of say, for example, eating a pizza, seems to require a dozen or more photographs to prove it happened. Yet ask the pizza photographer what flavour the pizza was and they certainly won’t remember. They will have been far too busy taking photographs to be paying any attention. And, most likely, they’ll start zooming into the image, trying to establish by forensic means what flavour the pizza was.

But in the old days, when someone went away, they had to rely on memory and the power of description to relay a sense of the experience to friends and family, who, in all likelihood, would never get the chance to travel to the foreign place themselves.

To this end, these people of yesterday would actually write by hand with a pen, on the back of small pieces of cardboard bearing a single static image of their present location. Affixing an even smaller gummed piece of paper (for which they would pay a small amount) to the reverse, their piece of cardboard would then be conveyed by human and mechanical means, to their friends and family, a process so slow that the holiday maker would often arrive home before their cardboard did.

Sadly, a mixture of low production values, poorly chosen subject matter and bad photography would often render these small pieces of cardboard misleading. Think then what strange conclusions the recipients of these postcards may have drawn about the country of Canada.

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On the surface of this last image, some baby of the past, in an act of typical baby arrogance, has attempted to efface this mountain by scribbling in pencil. There is also an ancient dried bogey stuck to the top left had corner of the peak.

How about this postcard entitled ‘Texan Waterworks of Yesterday”?

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Unfortunately I don’t think the scan does justice to the amazing print quality of this card. I assume it was once a photograph but the heavy retouching and the astounding variety of dots give it a kind of Seurat on acid type vibe.

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