The sunset postcard genre has become trivialized and overly sentimental, a cliché of self-parody. So much so that I decided to distinguish this sunset genre and invite you to submit your own sunset postcards, voice reproduction and all. Just respond to this sunset page with a postcard double-sided image. Send me a URL link to your audio track (soundcloud) of the postcard text and I will combine the two in a new page.
This is a special collection of postcards that have images of sunsets or sunrises, inspired by Orvar Lofgren’s book On Holiday: A History of Vacationing, Berkeley: University of California Press (1999). Apparently, in 1904, a postcard craze swept through Sweden, whose population of about five million mailed more than 48 million postcards! The Swedish term for picture postcard is vykort, which can be literally translated as “a card with a view.”
Lofgren refers to anthropologist, Manda Cesara’s remark made during fieldwork in Africa of local bewilderment as to why anyone would sit and watch the setting sun. The first waves of urban middle-class tourists seeking scenic views in the Swedish countryside received a similar reaction from the rural inhabitants who themselves could not fathom why people go through so much work just for a view.
According to Lofgren, “The sunset panorama satisfied many emotional longings. Observing the view along or with silent companions became a form of aesthetic worship, a profound experience of serenity and wholeness.” A feeling of “total belonging” or “quiet ecstasy” that allowed for time to stand still. These are times that evoke the postcard classic, “Wish you were here”, in a melancholic tone reserved for lovers or intimate friends.