The postcard: what a forgotten medium! These glossy paper travelers are associated with gift shop whimsy or gimmicky giggles. They’re also universal and can have an incredible craft to them. They just go so overlooked as the gesture is now equated to posting a photo on a friend’s Facebook wall. Postcards are so much more special, though! LA photographer Stephanie Gonot is trying to bring the postcard back in a very caring way with a show she has curated with Month Of Photography Los Angeles. She collected work from thirty photographers locally and beyond to share work that would be turned into postcards and that visitors can mail from the gallery. The show is Wish You Were Here and it will undoubtedly breathe beautiful hope back into mailboxes. To get an idea of what to expect–and where the idea came from–we spoke with Stephanie about what went into making the show, which actually opens tonight.
Wish You Were Here sees you teaming up with MOPLA for a quick Downtown LA photographic pop-up. What went into making the show? How long have you (and the artists) been working on it?
This show features the work of thirty photographers from Los Angeles and around the world in the form of postcards, available to purchase and mail directly from the gallery space. I had the idea for this show over a year ago but put it on the backburner until I heard about MOPLA’s theme this year, Wide Angle: Exploring New Photography from Los Angeles and Beyond. MOPLA has been immensely helpful in putting this show together. I think I started planning in February and contacted the photographers shortly thereafter. When I describe the show to people it sounds pretty simple, but since I’m working with thirty different photographers there’s a lot of logistics to take care of.
The whole concept of the show centers on postcards and art that will be shared through the public. Where did that idea come from? Do you think that had an effect on what art was shared?
I’ve always collected postcards from wherever I go and had been thinking of different ways to display photography. One day it just clicked! And yes, the fact that the images would be displayed on postcards definitely affected which images I chose for the show. I wanted to choose work that I love but also work that people would be excited to mail to their friends and family.
Los Angeles is obviously known for its car culture and being a city full of travelers. Do you think the city had an effect creating the show and directing it? Do you think the show reflects LA’s transitory heart?
This show for me is like a favorite photo blog materialized. Most of the photography work we view nowadays lives online, so I was excited to put together a show that is tangible and will be spread out into the world as objects (postcards), rather than jpegs. So I guess this show is my reaction to the way we view a lot of contemporary photography (via the internet) rather than a reaction to LA car culture.
Moreover, there are lots of Los Angeles artists involved: what do you think they bring to the show? Are there certain themes that you see throughout their work? What about the work as a whole?
There are nine photographers featured in the show who live and work in LA, but many of them are recent transplants. I’ve noticed in the past year or so that many artists and photographers are looking at LA as an exciting place to live and make work. And I agree! But to answer the question, the one thing I see in all of the artists involved in this show is that they love to experiment. With shapes, colors, composition… they all shoot pretty basic things but in new and interesting ways. Many of these photographers I’ve known about via the internet for years now, so it’s very exciting to be able to share their work all in one place.
The show is obviously going to be super fun and could be a recurring something. Do you–or MOPLA–have any plans to remount it?
Hahaha, no, no plans to remount this show. The postcards are for sale and there will be some nice larger prints on the walls for sale as well. So hopefully the show is sent out into the world for others to come across.
What’s next for you after this show? Do you have any other cool projects coming up that we should be aware of?
I’ve been toying around with the idea of creating some sort of Los Angeles-themed recurring contemporary photography publication… 2013 might be the year!
Obviously, Wish You Were Here is going to see lots of photos going places and–who knows–maybe you’ll end up with a photographic surprise in your mailbox. That’d be pretty sweet. Or, better yet, why don’t you mail one to a friend? That’d be even better! You can stop by the opening of the show tonight from 7PM to 10PM and it will be up through April 30 (it’s a quick show–just like a postcard’s quick travel). It’s held at MOPLA’s Downtown pop-up gallery: get more information on the show here.
Top photo is a collage of work that will be featured, courtesy of Stephanie.