Exaggeration

All postcards on this website are part of my personal collection.

Trick photography, photograph manipulations -PhotoShop(?) is as old as the camera itself.

“Photographs don’t lie” was long an accepted principle when just after the turn of the century, wit and ingenuity challenged this maxim with a brand new format for the time honoured tall tale – this time in pictorial guise.

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The phenomenon of “exaggeration” postcards came about through the fortunate convergence of just the right elements: the introduction of the privately printed postcard, the wonders of the new Kodak camera,the homesteading of the Midwest, and the growth of the postal service to the rural population.

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At the turn of the century communication by telephone and quick transportation by automobile was still rare in the rural agricultural communities, the picture postcard began to serve a genuine neighbourly function.

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Exaggeration to prove a point has long been a key element in storytelling. The ‘exaggeration’ postcard came about where the agriculture was the main source of prosperity (and frustration) and farmers were expert in straight-faced boasting about the enormity of prize specimens of their produce. There was nothing better for letting family and friends know of your successes than good natured boasting.

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When Kodak began printing postcards from the negatives of amateurs for pennies, a completely new form of folk expression had been born in the form of an exaggeration picture postcard, humourously capturing many facets of life in turn of the century small town North America.

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Exaggeration and the tall tale postcard has continued into modern times.

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