Mail Art: Deconstructing the Postcard – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Mail Art: Deconstructing the Postcard

Vietnam '04 off-campus program students in Professor Mark Jones' “Photography and Cuture” course have recently completed a conceptual art project focusing on the form and function of the picture postcard. Postcards have been around since the early days of photography. They are fantasy images of our travels that declare to the folks back home, “I am here, you are not.”

Everywhere there are tourists there are postcard vendors, those persistent, sometimes annoying, purveyors of idealized versions of reality.

Each student produced three “real” postcards, by photographing a postcard vendor in the act of selling, then selecting one of the actual postcards, rephotographing the original scene and making two digitally altered versions of it. Text was added to the image in each new postcard. Finally, the sets of three new postcards were mailed from Vietnam to the recently accepted students of the HWS/Union Vietnam '05 Program to complete the cycle from photographer to vendor to photographer to mail clerk to recipient and perhaps back to original vendor when the new students arrive in Vietnam next fall.