We live in a digital age. The internet is at the touch of our finger tips via our phones, laptops, and our tablets. We cannot leave our houses without being tuned in to our digital social lives, texting, instant messaging, and emailing. Writing letters is almost a thing of the past. People are always in contact with one another, birthday messages are now sent via social networking sites. Even postcards have been replaced by holiday snaps taken and uploaded in the ‘Wish you were here’ style.

In my generation the everyday analogue process of posting a letter is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Postboxes lie dormant, statues and monuments of a bygone era. The premise of this project is to revisit this analogue process to get as many people involved as possible, mailing postcards in the form of photographs. Drawing upon and combining the ideas and processes of psychogeography and new materiality I hope to explore, challenge, and question the analogue process, the materiality of the photographs and also questioning do postboxes still have a place in our society? This will inevitably lead me to look at the history of post, the postcard and the British empire as the red postbox is quintessentially British.

Based upon the Mail Art worldwide cultural movement that rose in the 60’s I want people in Great Britain and across the world to pick up their cameras and to photograph their local postboxes. Once photographed I would like each person to write a reflective statement on the back of the postcard and return it to me. These diary entries will act as the thoughts of the individual in their travels, much in the same way as the early French psychogeographers. I also set out to participate in this project by photographing the postboxes in my local area and some slightly further afield. Seeking the gradual changes and alteration through folds, tears, and the crumbled nature of them. The journeys taken will go on to transform the photograph from something mundane into an object which will give it an aura.

Stuart Matthews

The photograph that started it all…


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