History of Andros told in postcards

An exhibition at the Kaireio Library in Hora, on Andros, reveals that Greece once had a number of local publishers and photographers who made a living from postcards. Early 20th century postcards – which played something of the role that SMS messages do today – were produced in the hundreds of thousands by local manufacturers that adopted the custom common throughout the West of copying photographs of landscapes and all aspects of life. It was the golden age of photography as a popular means of communication. This exhibition of postcards from 1900-1960 has brought together scores of collector’s items. Most of the items on display come from the collection of Giorgos Papadopoulos, with smaller numbers from other collections. A small local business founded in 1892 by printer Lorentzos Karaoulanis printed 90 percent of the postcards available on Andros for several decades. It was the epitome of the local family business that for much of the 20th century (and, in some cases, part of the 19th century) recorded the photographic history of many communities and small places. Thanks to printing presses and keen photographers all over Greece (and abroad, where there were Greek-speaking communities), a significant archive was created. Without collectors, these records would have been scattered or lost and would have remained undocumented. Now, given the exhibition on Andros, we can imagine small archives and collections taking on the role of relating forgotten stories/histories. Today we might see these photographs as forerunners of the digital epoch, but a century ago the postcards were an absolute innovation which herald in a new world. Countless postcards have recorded Greek locations, creating a body of memory that is of interest both to collectors and the general public. The exhibition, which runs until September 29, is sponsored by the National Bank of Greece.

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