Thursday, April 18, 2013

CITIES OF THE FUTURE Surreal Fantasy Postcards circa 1900

Cities of the future, l'avenir, die zukunft a European genre unto itself, imagined cites and towns as they would appear circa 2000. These are playfully surreal fantasies, making up for there lack of visionary predictions with complicated collages and photo-montages accomplished by the skilled hands of artists, creative platemakers and printers.

Below is one of the great American examples of a city of the future postcard and surprisingly the only one for New York City that I can ever remember seeing. The image is a mash-up of turn-of-the-century "layer cake" style skyscrapers and a scene out of Fritz Lang's Metropolis

FLYING FANTASIES Surreal Postcards 1900 ~ 1930s

Most postcard and photograph collectors are familiar with "studio portraits" taken at tourist attractions and amusement parks, especially popular in the early part of the 20th century. The couple sticks their heads through an opening in a two dimensional painting of a scene at the beach or as cowboy and cowgirl and the photograph snaps a picture. They are fairly common in the United States. Europeans created similar images with a particular twist, often of groups of people in or on lighter than air forms of transportation. These were particularly popular during WW1 with soldiers.

Here from my archives, is a group of real photo postcards depicting both civilian and military versions of the theme.


And during the period just after the turn-of-the-twentieth century printed versions of the surreal, lighter than air fantasy cards were very popular throughout Europe, especially in France and Germany. Some wonderful examples of what it might be like to fly, by use of imagination and adaptation.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New York City Photo Show April 6, 2013

Another great show at the Lighthouse on 59th Street. 
Thanks to Steve Yeager and his team for pulling it all together!

My stand....