Saturday Review: Folk Photography

folk photographyFolk Photography: The American Real-Photo Postcard 1905-1930

Folk Photography by Luc Sante is a 160 pages book about his personal collection of real-photo postcards taken in the 1900’s. Luc Sante is a writer and critic from New York area who started collecting real-photo postcards in the 80’s and over the years accumulated around 2500 postcards. The book contains over 100 of postcards that he handpicked to display. He also outlines the history of real-photo postcards and their significance in America’s history as well as his criteria for which postcards he decided to show from his collection. He provides a detailed 37 page intro that for any person curious into the real-photo postcard world will find invaluable and interesting. For others it may appear a little long winded. I personally love the intro as it gives the reader a look into the man, Luc Sante himself as a collector and his mindset with putting together this book. It makes it more personal, and this book being a collection of only his collection of postcards is just that, personal. I think it adds a lot to the book knowing more about Sante as real-photo postcards are very prolific and if you’ve ever looked for them in antique stores you’ll know they come in stacks upon stacks. One thing I really love about the book is that under each postcard there is as much information as possible about the individual postcard, photographer, date, anything writing on the back, and sometimes a description about what the photos is depicting taken from historical information. My favourite photographs in the book are the portraits, as I love old portraits as they are usually quiet strange and creepy. There is a great mixture between rural life, still life, events, portraits, and group shots. The one thing he is really missing is landscapes however he explains in the intro why he made the decision to not include. He has an amazing collection and if you are interested in real-photo postcards or antique postcards or history this book will please you and be a delight to flip through. If you are looking to see professional vintage photography from that time, this book may be a bit of a disappointment as none of them will blow you away and that is understandable as real-photo postcards were treated much like we use Instagram today. The book very niche but seeing as there are not many books documenting this hobby it’s an interesting one to have on your shelf.

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