It Pays to Play
British Columbia in Postcards, 1950s-1980s
Co-published with Presentation House Gallery, It Pays to Play: British Columbia in Postcards, 1950s--1980s reveals the province as it was represented in popular, photographic colour postcards from the early '50s through to the emergence in the '80s of the present post-industrial, global economy.
Following the Second World War, North America underwent a sustained period of extraordinary economic and social transformation. With its remarkable physical diversity and beauty, excellent climate and abundant resources, British Columbia was particularly well placed to reap the benefits and opportunities of these circumstances, even as there were signs that the good life had been oversold.
If life changed dramatically during this period, so did the way it was seen. The advent of inexpensive, technologically sophisticated colour photography brought a remarkable and widely appealing realism to the depiction of the modern world. One of colour photography's important offshoots was the postcard. With its naturalism and vivid, enhanced opticality, the colour postcard not only fed into the growth and optimism of developing communities and industry, but it interacted in significant ways with the new and expanded world of leisure and tourism ushered in during this period.
Author Peter White dissects these fascinating images that promoted British Columbia as a province of extraordinary natural beauty and opportunity, examining how these images both inform and construct our sense of place--from the neon lights of Vancouver's Chinatown, to the surreal landscape of Trail's smelters; from the manicured gardens of Stanley Park, to eerily vacant main streets and motels in small towns throughout the province.
The book includes 141 full-colour images.