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manupostcards

postcard collections and postcard design-by Manu

Omaha Postcard Collection Reveals City’s History

The world is changing; the towns, cities, even villages are changing more and less faster. The old buildings are restored, or modified for another destination, or… demolished. New buildings are rising where the old buildings have been demolished. Yes, the life is going on, even the cities’ life.

A photography is not changing, so a postcard can tell something about a town or city’s past.

Steve Raglin is a graphic artist from Omaha, USA, and he is also a postcard collector. Starting from a hobby, he developed a project, called „Omaha then and now”, an original project meaned to keep Omaha city’s history alive.

Grouping1

 

Steve was so kind to answer at my invitation and further he will describe the project. So, let’s „listen” what Steve says about his project:

 

I started collecting postcards as young child when traveling with my family on summer vacation. I would seek out colorful and unusual postcards at gas stations or gift shops at each stop along the way. Some I would keep for my collection. Others I would send to friends with a greeting like, “We saw a huge armadillo today. Everything in Texas really is big!”.

Now, decades later, my postcard collection is also quite big and has evolved to be more about historic structures. I live in Omaha, Nebraska where I work as a graphic artist. I live in the downtown area where many old structures still stand. You can’t help but appreciate how much character they add to the city’s skyline. Their intricate detail and classic styling is well beyond what is found in most buildings created today.

Photography is also a hobby of mine so I decided to create a “then and now” project using the postcards. I started taking photos of them held in front of the old structures as they appear today, trying to match the exact same angle. More than just appreciating how the old buildings look, I wanted to people to consider preservation.

MutualOmaha

Too many classic old buildings have been torn down to make way for new structures. I wanted to push the idea of repurposing old structures, and how preservation is sensible and can help maintain some of the city’s history. Ultimately, I have taken more than fifty photos for my project using my postcard collection. I designed a website to showcase the photos: PostcardsOfOmaha.com , which features several galleries showing the old postcards held in front of current buildings. Each has a description telling when it was built and how the building is used today. One of the galleries shows postcards of old buildings that, unfortunately, have been torn down.

I’m excited to say the website is quite popular with many thousands of visitors since it was created about two years ago. People write to me sharing their memories about the buildings. Others have even wanted to give me their own postcards to add to my collection. I encourage anyone interested in postcard collecting and architecture to try a similar project in your own city. My website has opened the eyes of many people. I’ve been told they don’t just quickly walk or drive by old buildings, but now slow down to consider their classic style and appreciate how much history stands behind those old walls.

 

You can see more about „Omaha then and now” project at this website:

http://www.postcardsofomaha.com/

I hope also that Steve’s idea turned into a real project will inspire many other people to discover and appreciate their city’s architectural values. And someday… maybe we will see more projects such this one.

At the end, I want to thank you, Steve for your kindness and your materials!

Reclame

INTERESTING AND UNUSUAL POSTCARDS 3

Hello and let’s see an another unusual postcard. I’ve bought this postcard from Prague, Czeck Republic.

At the first sight, it looks thicker than a normal postcard. You can see that is something folded inside:

DSCF3715 DSCF3716

 

Now let’s unfold the postcard and… look:

DSCF3719

 

This is a 3D postcard. You have to look through the lenses and you will see the Cathedral and the buildings in „3D” mode. 🙂

 

DSCF3720

 

As you see, at the back there are 2 photos. I mean one photo, but replicated twice. I’m not able to explain how does it work, why and where comes this „3D” effect from… you have just to try it and you will see.

This is the picturefrom the back:

DSCF3721

 

As a conclusion, it is possible to do unusual postcards in many ways. It is possible to find many ways to fold some pieces of paper, like that was, or other postcards from the previous posts. The imagination is the limit!

New postcard series in 2016. The first step

Slowly, but surely, a new postcard series will appear and perhaps they will travel all around the world. That postcard seies will represent something beautiful and interesting, from a region where is difficult to find something interesting and exciting. This is briefly my project which I have started, together with this blog.

 

How my first postcard series was born

I live in a rural region situated in south Hungary, region called Ormánság. I am here since 2013. The fact was that there were no postcards in this region(Ormánság), about the villages from Ormánság. There are biger and more important villages in this region, like Vajszló and Sellye. And no postcards about Vajszló, or Sellye, or whatever any other village. In that time, the women from the post office from Kémes (the village where I work at an NGO and where I lived then) said that there are no postcards about Kémes or other villages, but it will be nice to be.  At the end of 2013, with the support of the NGO where I’ve worked then (and now as well), I have designed my first postcards. Those were postcards about Kémes, printed in a very small edition. Soon, there was no more postcard left.

This is one of the postcards from the first series, in 2013:

postcard_mill01

By the way, the picture represents the old mill from Kémes, which nowadays belongs to the NGO where I work. This NGO tried to apply for founds in order to renovate the mill building and after, to use it as an educational center for youth… and not only for youth.

 

My project: The second postcard series

With the experience from the first postcard series, I want to design and print a new one, a better one. And for sure, in a biger quantity.

First, I have launched a poll on Facebook. According to the poll’s results, here are the themes which those postcards will cover:

  1. general views, street views
  2. local traditions, including local traditional food
  3. a castle and/or a church
  4. map of Ormánság, combined with useful information

 

A postcard about the map of Ormánság with some description and useful information

First, let’s search for the elements of the map. Ormánság is a rural area in southern Hungary, located between the Tenkes hills and the Drava River. The Drava river represents also the natural border with Croatia. How I said before, this is a rural area, composed by around 40 villages connected by road networks. The fact is that it’s a backwarded region, with poor villages and also the cultural heritage is poor. What about the natural landscapes? The area is flat, there are no mountains, no hills, no spectacular natural sceneries! But, on the other hand, here are more forests and the river Drava which is also worth visiting.

The cultural heritage is represented mainly by churches, one castle in Sellye, ruins of a pallace in Drávafok, and… food!  yum yum 🙂

One more element, as part of the traditions: the weaving. Until the WWII, almost every woman used to weave clothes for herself and for her familly members. There is even a motif from Ormánság. Nowadays, the weaving is a forgotten occupation, only a few old people are keeping the weaving alive.

Starting from these elements (churches, historical buildings, forests, river Drava, food, weaving), I want to design a map of Ormansag, with the villages, the connecting roads and the rivers. So it will be more complex then an ordinary map.

 

A postcard about the watermelon, maybe the most famous product of Ormánság

The watermelon is cultivated by many people from Ormánság region. The soil and the climate here is proper for watermelon growing, that’s why, this fruit has earn a good reputation. The watermelon from Sellye is known almost all-over Hungary. So, we can consider that the watermelon is a representative product for the villages from Ormánság. This is the product which can be exported!

Besides this, every year there is the „Watermelon festival” in Sellye.

How the postcard will be designed:

  • a picture with a delicious watermelon (yum yum 🙂 )
  • at the bottom will be a brief map with the villages where the watermelon is cultivated more (Baranyahídvég, Vajszló, Csányoszro, Sellye)
  • a mention about the annual watermelon festival from Sellye.

 

A postcard about the town square from Vajszló

Last year, the town square from Vajszló has been renovated and now it looks great 🙂  Even that’s a small square, it looks pretty nice and it might be a symbol for Vajszló. Here is the town square:

vajszlo (6)

This picture is just an informative picture, this will not be used for the postcard.

 

A postcard about the castle from Sellye and the „Arboretum”

Sellye is called „the capital of Ormánság”. This is not a town really, is something between a biger village and a small town. Here in Sellye we can find a great architectural heritage, the Draskovics (Drashkovich) castle, together with its garden called „arboretum”. Nowadays, nobody prints postcards about the castle. All what I’ve found are old postcards about it. You can see one of them here:

http://postcards.hungaricana.hu/hu/219158/?query=SZO%3D(%22Sellye%22)

The castle wasn’t changed from outside. Only the garden suffered changes. I think the castle with its arboretum deserves to be popularised, so let’s bring it the glory from the past!

 

Now is your turn, because the postcards will be created for you! Let’s be interactive. Leave me a comment and write what are your expectations about the next postcards. Which one from them do you like more?

See you next time

Manu

Successful business with postcards in Romania

Some people who are passionate for postcards reach a point when they decide to turn the passion into a business. And some of them are doing good business with postcards. Their stories are successful stories and might even inspire other postcard passionates to start a small business.

Now I will show you a successful story what happened in Oradea – Romania, the city where I lived before.

 

Adrian Samoilă and his postcards

I remember when once… years ago, I’ve walked through the Oradea’s city center. There, I saw a stylish cargo bike with a mobile stand. At that stand, different postcards about Oradea were exhibited and sold. I’ve never seen so stylish postcards about Oradea before. This was one of the postcards, now it belongs to my collection:

old_oradea01

It represents a part of the Oradea’s city center, between the two World Wars. By the way, the steel bridge from the back doesn’t exists anymore. It was destroyed during the WWII and later, a new concrete bridge was built close to it.

Even the postcards based on actual photos have an own style:

oradea_artistic01

By the way, this photo was taken from the concrete bridge, which I have mentioned above.

I have searched for details and I realised that the postcards were produced by Adrian Samoilă, who has developed a business from his passion. I’ve tried once even to get hired to his studio, but I wasn’t accepted. But I’ve continued to buy his postcard collections.

In 2004, when Adrian was just a student at the Faculty of Arts, he has got an idea to create original postcards about Oradea city. He had the feeling that the citizens from Oradea don’t realise the beauty of that town. There are many historical buildings, the city has a rich cultural and historical heritage. But the local people, in the day-by-day life, they have forgotten to see the beauty of the city,

Then, Adrian began his project, starting from old postcards about Oradea, from the interwar period, and he has edited them using the modern technologies (image editing on image editor softwares). To be original, he had included different figures on the images: a little boy who smiles behind a photo camera (as you can see above), young girls, a white cat, stands with sellers from those times, etc. And, not at least, the old cars, old trams. All these postcards about the old Oradea, are grouped in a set called : La belle epoque.

Another set contains the postcards which show Oradea nowadays. But Adrian didn’t stop only at Oradea. Further, he has realised a postcard set about Sibiu nowadays:

sibiu_actual_podminc

and the postcard sets which shows the medieval towns from Transylvania, as they looked in the middle age.

 

This is a postcard about Sighișoara:

sighisoara_medievala_maxi

 

And Sibiu in the middle age:

sibiu_medieval01

All these „medieval” postcards were inspired from old drawings.

The small busines has grown, and it has more future plans.

 

I posted here some of the Adrian’s postcards which belong to my collection. However, there are much more postcards and more future projects.  The portofolio might be seen at this webpage: http://bornintransylvania.ro/portofoliu.

 

 

Tips for finding good postcards. Online and offline

If you are reading this article, I’m sure that you have got bored from the many ordinary postcards which you can find at the closest post office, in your town. You are looking to achieve better quality postcards, or postcards with stylish design, or about some themes. Nowadays, the stylish vintage postcards are so appreciated and more and more collectors want to get vintage postcards. Maybe you are looking for some thematical postcards, but there are no such postcards at the post office.

The postcard market has moved on the internet, that’s true, but not totally true! I will get you some tips to find good postcards on the internet, but first let’s explore the off-line world, the real world. It is true that it takes more time and investigation to find a place (off-line) where you can buy good postcards. On the other hand, buying postcards from the off-line market requires searching, travelling, and as a bonus, you may meet new people and build new contacts. The fact that I like at the off-line postcard market is that you have to search deeper in your city and other cities and that makes the hobby more interesting, more exciting.

So let’s get start.

 

Where can you find good postcards off-line

Go to the museums. When have you been last time at a museum? A museum is not just a building with a permanent exhibition inside. Nowadays, the museums make the best to offer interesting souvenirs to the visitors and… even postcards. The museums offer a variety of postcards, even thematic postcards. However, the museums can offer better postcards than the post offices. Last time when I bought from a museum was yesterday, when I went to Croatia, with my job. The organisers offered the lunch for us, in a restaurant which is established in an old castle, and on the other side, face to face with the restaurant is a museum. So, during the lunch breack, I went to the museum and I saw there a large veriety of postcards: from real photos, to drawings, different themes. I bought this postcard from the museum:

 zrinyi_castle_cakovec 

Besides the postcards based on real photos, I like so much the postcards based on monochrome drawings. Like that one. By the way, the postcard represents the Zrinski Castle from Čakovec, Croatia. I have to mention that at the museums, the postcards are more expensive than at the post offices!

 

Explore the book shops. The book shops are like a kind of… surprise rooms! Besides the books, the bookshops use to sell different souvenirs as well. Search for the bookshops in your town, and explore them! Spend time at a bookshop to search for postcards. You may be surprised on what did you find there! And also, when you are in a new town/city, search for bookshops to buy postcards from.

 

Antiques shops. That is exactly as at the bookshops is. Go to an antiques shop and explore around. Sometimes you can get very attractive offers. Once I was on an antiques shop in Rzeszów, Poland. I found there postcards older than 100 years, at a low price. There I’ve bought this postcard from:

acropole_01

There is no such rule that in the antiques shops the postcards are cheap. It depends on the postcard’s age, how rare is, and… on the shop. That’s why you should explore more antiques shops, to find the best offer for you and … for your wallet.

 

On the touristical attractions. There are various touristical attractions: maybe a town center, maybe a cathedral, maybe a building and so on. Visit the town center or the streets which are most visited by the tourist. Even in the streets you can find souvenir sellers where you can buy postcards from. And, I remember when I bought postcards from the Cathedral in Prague – Czeck Republic and from the Stephansdom Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Are you sure that you know all the touristical attractions in your town and in the surroundings? Have you explored all of them?

 

At the hotels. Not every hotel sells postcards to the visitors. Maybe the most of them don’t sell. As I remember, I have found just two hotels which had postcard for sale. And one more, which had very ordinary postcards. Maybe that’s not the best idea to explore each hotel and guesthouse from your town and from the surroundings. Use this tip rather when you are planning to travel somewhere.

 

Visit different fairs. The fairs give you a great opportunity to look for postcards. There you can find even rare old postcards, from professional collectors. Professional collectors? Yes, there is a chance to meet them, to buy from them, even to ask from them, to get tips from them. I have visited more fairs and there, besides the postcards which I’ve bought, I’ve got business cards from the sellers, so I have their contacts to keep in touch with them. The fairs are excellent place to find good postcards, even old postcards, even new stylish, vintage postcards. Apart from this, there you can build relations with the professional collectors.

 

These were the off-line places where you can buy good postcards, better then what the post offices offer to you. Now, let’s go further to the online market.

 

Where can you find good postcards on-line

I observed that the online world is not just a market for buying (ordering) postcards, it’s also a mrket where you can swap postcards. If you have a postcard and you want to change it for another one, then you have better chances to do it online.

www.postcrossing.com – is probably the most popular website for postcard sharings. If you don’t know how the system works, I’ll explain you: create an account. Next, you will see your profile on the webpage. You will see on the profile a link: send a postcard. Follow the instructions and you will get a random address where you have to send a postcard. If you send a postcard to a member, another member will send a postcard for you. The more postcards you send, the more postcards you will receive from other members from all-over the world. I like postcrossing so much, through this site I received postcards from various countries. And also, on postcrossing you can find members interested in direct swapping, from all-over the world. That’s amazing!! I’ve got many postcards from Brasil, from a member interested in direct swaps. And once, I was interested to obtain a postcard from Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Through postcrossing, I’ve found a member from Chernivtsi who has sent me a stylish postcard. So, explore the postcrossing.com website for more beautiful experiences!

 

www.postcardunited.com – this site is very similar to the postcrossing and it uses the same system. You may try this as well.

Join the Facebook groups. Just type in the search box the words „postcard” „swap”, and you will get more groups where you can swap postcards.

Sites where you can buy postcards:

You can find postcards on e-bay, or by searching on Google. There are many sites where you can order postcards, just search for them on Google. I will write just one more site, where I used to order postcards from:

www.delcampe.de – This is a German site, but it has also an English version. It contains a large variety of postcards, from all the times, all-over the world.

 

Conclusion

If you have a passion, go for it, follow it. In our case, the postcard collecting is about travelling and searching. Now you can go to search according to the tips. I hope you will find nice postcards and I’m waiting to read (below, in a comment) your experiences.

If you know other sources for postcards, please write them in a comment!

See you soon

Manu

 

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