Author(s): William Main
The first New Zealand picture postcards were published in 1897, and quickly established themselves as an enduring and popular part of our visual culture. In the early part of the 20th century sending postcards snowballed into a craze which had few precedents (it is estimated that 7.5 million postcards were sent through the mail in 1909) but then settled down after the First World War to a level of popularity that has been sustained to this day. Consequently the postcards that were published throughout the last century offer a fascinating insight into everyday New Zealand life. This is the inspiration behind Send me a postcard, written by William Main, one of New Zealand's pre-eminent photographic historians, who has assembled a collection of cards that graphically and eloquently illustrate much about New Zealand's social history through the last century. In the book he arranges postcards in themes, ranging from the beautiful cards published for the early tourist industry in New Zealand, to postcards that document important events and occasions, and the huge variety of pictorial cards that so strikingly contrast the enormous changes in our towns and cities that occurred during the 20th century. This charming and nostalgic collection of postcards is popular history at its best, and will have wide appeal. The cards are graphically fascinating, while the story they tell provides an intriguing view of life in New Zealand in the last century. First published November 2007.
William Main is one of New Zealand's pre-eminent photographic historians, and has written and published extensively on the subject. He was head of the Photography Department at Wellington Polytechnic for many years, founded Exposures Gallery in Wellington, and was also Director of the New Zealand Centre of Photography. He has been collecting things, including postcards, for most of his life.