THE idea of a picture postcard is to present or convey a subject in its best format to a recipient whether it be in relation to humour, scenery, animal life or whatever.
In this regard, I send picture postcards of our City of Plymouth to friends in the UK, many of the European countries and America.
A picture postcard is a form of advertising and requires photographic professionalism which is not always apparent when selecting cards. With the exception of one or two Plymouth Sound and Hoe foreshore pictures, the same dreary cards are on sale each year.
An American friend wrote to me recently and jokingly asked if Plymouth was a ghost town, in that only on rare occasions were people visible in pictures. The postcard of the Plymouth Hoe lido was one where he asked, "Why are there no people in the pool?", "Is it because the water and weather are too cold?", "Is it too costly for families to participate?", or "Is it a type of monument not for public use?" Interesting observations.
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This past week, I visited Plymouth's leading newsagent WH Smith in a search for possible new picture postcard material.
I could find nothing in the store and asked an assistant where I might find picture postcards of Plymouth, the reply I received was that WH Smith do not sell picture postcards of Plymouth. I replied, I don't believe it! WH Smith located in the centre of Plymouth and you do not sell this item, why not? The assistant did not have the answer and suggested I write and direct my questions to WH Smith management.
Perhaps there is a lack of demand, maybe with the advent of texting and emailing, the art of writing is dying, but I am certain that of the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit Plymouth each year, that there must be a call for picture postcards, after all, don't most people love to receive these pictures and notes of holiday pleasure?
There are stores and shops in Plymouth which sell postcards but what surprises me is the increasing availability of cards portraying Burgh Island, Bigbury, Bantham, Slapton, Kingsbridge, Blackpool Sands, Looe, Minehead and other places both west and east of Plymouth.
Through feedback made available to me from people who live away from our city, it is apparent that although we live in a wonderful and scenic area, we do not come across as having the ability to sell its virtues to the world.