These aren’t just any old postcards, these are John Hinde postcards. I have a collection of hundreds of them, compiled through many trips to the seaside, beauty spots, visitor attractions and monuments. They are easy to identify on postcard carousels because of the exaggerated colours, the compositional structure and the cardboard poses of the people (inspiration for the classic ‘catalogue’ pose).
Long before the days of brand experience and destination marketing, the photographer Hinde was creating ideal views that were so falsified and enhanced that today the results seem heavy-handed and amateurish, but at the time they were totally unique and state-of-the-art, in terms of colour photography and colour printing.
The principle Hinde developed was simple: our memory of a view is never the same as the reality. The colours in our memories are more vivid, and annoying details get forgotten, to the extent that we remember a hybrid image of the best bits of what we’ve seen. Hinde and his team just replicated this in their pictures by stage-managing every last detail.
Manipulated images are so much part of our visual vocabulary now that we take them for granted, but for holiday-makers in the 1950s emerging from the dark austerity of the late 1940s, these full-colour images must have been mind-blowing. Looking at them now, these views seem quaint, kitsch and rather tacky, which is why I’m so fond of them, but what is uplifting and inspires me is Hinde’s observation that colour equates to happiness, wellbeing and good feeling.