By Janet Dodrill
Recently, by going through family photos, albums and scrapbooks, these three old Cleveland postcards of Euclid Avenue, University Circle and the Hollenden building, were discovered, passed down through our family. I love old Cleveland pictures, and it is even interesting seeing the written correspondence and stamps on some of them.
People crave nostalgia, and Clevelander’s enjoy anything Cleveland! Progress in civilization changes things so quickly, which we can mostly tell by looking back.
I’ve noticed, working in the graphics industry, that back in the day of keylines, typesetting,
hand-lettering and illustration (for me it was 1970s through early 1990s), we strived to achieve a polished high end look that was difficult to manufacture by hand. Then when the desktop publishing-capable computers were introduced it seemed to be the answer to our hopes. We could generate clean text and grab clip art graphics. However, by the late 1990s fonts were being created with a hand-written or grunge look. Stock illustration was less sleek and more stroked and textured. We sought a more natural look from our computer layouts, and for the visuals to appear to be more authentic.
I have found a similar comparison with the direction of cameras and photography. Over time we have made many improvements to cameras and photographic imagery. From tin to plates to film to now digital cameras with ever-increasing megapixels and other features. How ironic that we get software and app filters to give us an old sepia tone or vintage look.
The innovative Instagram, available first, offered a multiple digital image filter app that could be applied from a phone or tablet and posted on the world wide web for millions to see and took off in popularity. And there are many more other apps that now do the same thing, most recently Twitter and Flickr.
Seeing old postcards is still special. That is when the imagery was the best it could be. It brings us back to a time when we had other priorities. You can just tell by these postcards that the fancy architecture shown would have drawn visitors to Cleveland, and that people were out catching cable cars, operating their horse-drawn carriages while going downtown to shop or work at their businesses, and other things of the day. It starts-off our imaginations when we look at them.