Boring Postcards USA
Boring Postcards goes Stateside - 160 exquisitely dull postcards from America. In the original Boring Postcards Magnum photographer and postcard enthusiast Martin Parr brought together 160 of the dullest postcards of 50s, 60s and 70s Britain to make a book that was, paradoxically, both fascinating and extremely funny. It was one of those ideas that seemed so obvious that no one could believe it hadn't been done before, and it caught the public imagination in a big way. Boring Postcards was discussed everywhere from daytime TV shows to in-flight magazines, from The Times to the Time magazine. It was so successful partly because it was more than just a funny book. The very fact that such places and people were once considered to be interesting or beautiful enough to merit a postcard made us aware of the changes which had taken place. In effect, Boring Postcards was an alternative social and cultural history of Britain from the 1950s to the 1970s. Martin Parr subsequently turned his attention to the United States to produce Boring Postcards USA, 160 of the dullest postcards from the land of opportunity.Just as before, for a postcard to qualify as sufficiently 'boring', either its composition, or its content, or the characters featured, must be arguably boring, or the photograph must be absent of anything which might conventionally be described as interesting. The postcards in Boring Postcards USA include: 'Site of Proposed Larger Taconite Plant' (a field); 'The colourful rug near the entrance of the national offices of the American Baptist Churches' (a red rug); 'Sunset Travel Trailer Park' (some trailers); 'Pennsylvania Turnpike near the Philadelphia Interchange' (exactly what it says); 'Ariel View of the massive interchange complex of Federal Highways 1-75, 1-85, and I-20.' Once again, the design of the book reflects its contents by being at the cutting edge of dullness, sporting a neutral grey cover and captions in Helvetica, the typeface of choice for producers of boring postcards. Once again, these cards will provide not only a great deal of amusement but a commentary of how America has changed, a celebration of those places that have been forgotten by conventional history.
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