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Centre d’Art Gwinzegal : Will Write Soon – Postcard Photos from the “new” world


The Will Write Soon exhibition at the Centre d’Art Gwinzegal, Guingamp, is based on the collection of photographic cards put together by the collector and author David Thomson, who provided a first original vision in his book Dry Hole published in 2022 by Morel Books and AMC.
Will Write Soon extends this work, this time offering an encounter with images “as they are”. Luce Lebart, curator of the exhibition, writes:

It is into the twists and turns of daily life in the villages and countryside of North America at the beginning of the 20th century that these hundreds of photographs from an unusual register take us. In English, they are called “real photo postcard” (RPPC) and in French, “carte photo”. They are halfway between film photography and postcards. These are original prints (real photographs and not printed images) on the revers side of which there is space to affix an address, a stamp, as well as, from 1907, a few words. Before this date, only the address was allowed on the back of the cards, and messages were then written directly on the image or around it.

Send an image of your home, a photograph that you have taken yourself or which you have acquired from a passing photographer or one from the village: this practice experienced extraordinary popularity between 1905 and 1915 in rural areas of deep America. This boom in photo cards was favored threefold: by the simplification of access to photographic practice, by the remarkable drop in shipping costs, and finally by the modernization and free postal deliveries.

Deliveries were frequent, as evidenced by postmarks. Thus, a card sent from one village to another could reach its destination the same day or the next day. At a time when American homes were not all equipped with telephones, photo cards become the visual and verbal links between generations of Americans, who, often newly settled, lived far from big cities.

“I will be back on Thursday if all goes well. » ; “The dog is sick. He must have been etherealized. » ; “That’s where I spend most of my time. » ; “How are these photos you took of us?” » ; “Where there is a cross, that’s my cousin. » ; “The storm passed not far but it spared us. “.

The Will Write Soon exhibition is based on the collection assembled by collector and author David Thomson and highlights the aesthetic and documentary qualities of these artisanal photographs, which were most often taken by amateurs and sometimes by professionals. The materiality of these everyday memories is underlined, and the back of the images is shown. The emphasis is also placed on the links between images and words…

The Will Write Soon exhibition highlights the aesthetic and documentary qualities of these photographs. The materiality of these everyday memories is underlined, and the back of the images is shown.

Luce Lebart, Curator of the exhibition


Will Write Soon – Photos postales du “nouveau” monde
from February 23 to June 16, 2024
Centre d’Art Gwinzegal, Guingamp
4 Rue Auguste Pavie
22200 Guingamp, France

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