Among the photo collection of the Vernon Museum are several manipulated images like this exaggerated postcard from 1946.
Prior to the invention of Photoshop in 1987, photo manipulation was a much more complicated task. Several techniques were used, including film and negative manipulation, darkroom manipulation, and chemical manipulation.
A canadian company with an American Connection
This postcard was produced by the Canadian Post Card Co., which was active from 1911 to 1969, but the original artist behind the image’s manipulation was likely American photographer William H. Martin. Martin operated a studio in Kansas between 1908 and 1915, and launched the genre of “tall-tale” postcards which were popular up until the mid-20th century.
Martin’s technique involved creating a collage of different images to achieve a skewed sense of perspective. The resulting piece was then re-photographed and sold. Martin had a particular fascination with agriculture, and often created scenes with outlandish elements like boulder-sized onions or wheat fields as tall as old-growth forests.
Why the Vernon Museum?
This particular photo-postcard is housed at the Vernon Museum because it was allegedly taken in Vernon, but rumour has it that the Canadian Post Card Co. simply swapped out the city name on the postcards as needed depending on where they were being sold. While the Okanagan is an agricultural haven, we can’t get away with saying we have corn quite that big.
To explore more of Vernon’s history, check out our other blog posts!
Gwyneth Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator