‘Nothing to write home about’ (research)

Michelle Abadie and Susan Beale’s body of work titled ‘Nothing to write home about’ is a collection of Hinde postcards from roughly the 1960s to 1980s, with the sender’s original hand written messages printed underneath. For people who grew up in the 60s through to the 80s Hinde postcards are ‘part of the fabric of memory’ as their colour-saturated images and dream like quality appear to be fleeting moments of lost time.

Post cards tell two stories, by both image and text, and these written on postcards are effectively an archive of social history with the Hinde postcards depicting the idealised vision of postwar leisurely Britain and Ireland.

During World War Two Hinde worked as a war photographer documenting scenes of the Blitz. Hinde’s postcard business was successful due to the spread of the tourist industry after World War Two. He had experimented with colour photography between 1934 and 1937 where he used the very difficult three colour carbro process, and became a Fellow of the Royal Photopraphic Society in 1943. He went on to study photography at the Reimann School, where the leading expert in new colour printing methods, Frank Newens, taught him.

Due to the dream-like appearance of his colour photography and the optimistic mood depicted in his postcards Hinde is regarded as an important figure in the link between fine art, design and popular culture.

It could often take several weeks for a single postcard image to be captured. On average one or two sheets of 5×4 Ektachrome transparencies were used for each subject. To produce the images Hinde would mask the transparencies, then black and white negatives were produced after which enlargements were made for the colour- notes. He would then prepare his instructions for each colour separation, all of which were produced in Italy. Undesirable items such as TV aerials or Telephone posts were removed, and false bright colours were added to make the postcard stand out to potential buyers.

Abadie, M., Beale, S. (2007) Nothing to write home about. London: Friday Books

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Filed under ., Placing Photographic Practice in Context

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