Back in 1903, Kodak introduced a camera that was designed with postcard-making in mind. The No. 3A Folding Pocket Kodak took postcard-sized film. The photos were taken in the same size as a standard postcard and could be printed directly onto postcard backs. This was the beginning of a genuine photography phenomenon, with amateur photographers being able to print their images onto genuine postcards to share with others.
It wasn’t until March of 1907 that senders could start writing messages on the backs of their postcards. From that point, the fronts of those cards could hold a full-sized photograph and that contributed to the massive popularity of the format. The real photo postcard allowed the average person to document everything from their tiny home town to their family lives and turn those images into something to be shared with the world.
And that’s exactly what they did.
I love real photo postcards precisely because they were often made by amateurs. In some, you can see the experimentation that went into printing of their images. Others give you a little glimpse into the lives of the people that took them—a view you may not otherwise see. As with every photograph, quality varies, and so does subject matter.
Below you will find some examples of real photo postcards that recorded the family lives of people one-hundred years ago. How has the family photo changed? How is it the same? Share your thoughts in the comments.
All images are 300 DPI and may be used in your projects, by the way.