The Art of the French Postcard
Freedom of expression continues to be an ongoing battle when it comes to human body, from the floor length tablecloths of the Victorians, to the more current #FreeTheNipple campaign, the human form remains to be ‘legalized’. In the 1920s, pornography of any kind was completely illegal, though tame by today’s standards, ‘candid’ images of women hinting at what exists behind their undergarments was absolutely erotic. Men (mainly) would trade postcards with scantily clad women on them, most of the cards were made in France and shipped overseas, hence became known as French Postcards. These cards were not fit for travel by post, so for that reason had to be procured through trade, or an introduction to a native French merchant that was dealing in these seedy prints.
This sort of work was an extremely lucrative sideline for many photographers; however, for security’s sake, they signed their work with pseudonyms. The models were also anonymous, often times not even living the country in which their image was circulating.