14 Jan 2016

Postcard Views of Vintage Bastia, Corsica

Ephemera are by essence ephemeral: marketing flyers, political pamphlets, invitation cards, menus, receipts, concert tickets, clothing labels, advertising stickers, promotional ink blotters, etc. They are notheless more than 'just' bits of printed card or paper, as some of them become valuable collectibles with the passing of time.

Postcards are interesting too. They sit like a hyphen between ephemera and photographic print. Postcards document the moment. They are individual layers of history, anthropology, art, architecture, geography and land planning, all rolled together. Postcards capture a place of interest, a group of characters in action, and freeze that moment. While on the back of the card, we get the cherry on the cake, what gives the card its personality, authenticity, hence uniqueness: a little record of a moment in a life, a few scribbled words, a signature, a condensate of graphology, an address, a stamp... Testimonies of lives past, of the frailty of the moment gone.

It doesn't take a collector to realise that postcards are an important point of reference, not only as photographic evidence to those of us interested in history. Thus it seemed natural for Mirabelle to portray a piece of our local coastal history in our local town of Bastia, French island of Corsica. Those familiar with the town will recognise it in those views (which I estimate to dating back to the 1920s). This little nostalgic exercise is still a moving experience, as I am trying to picture my Corsican grandma, great uncle and great grandparents living the moments that are pictured herein!


Source: (1-3) A short selection of hand-coloured postcard views of Bastia available to purchase from SCVIEW Antique Images & Postcards, via the Stanley Gibbons Marketplace.

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