Monday, 14 February 2011

Postcard of the Day No. 44, Unter den Linden

A gathering of servants and nursemaids has taken possession of the seating under the shade of the lime trees that line the centre strip - a tiny fragment from the lost details of daily life miraculously preserved. An image of maternal domesticity from the postcard universe.

An implacable uniformed chauffeur pilots a gleaming automobile, the squished-up features of his passenger can be seen in the window behind. The polished brass-work catches the sun. A limousine passes in the opposite direction and the camera records top hat turning to speak to bowler hat.

Astonishingly the two images coexist in the same postcard space in a masterpiece of street photography. Two worlds that almost collide – the world of baby milk and talcum powder and the world of gasoline, carbon monoxide, pressed steel and solid rubber tyres. The sound and fury of the modern metropolis invades every millimetre of the card with stunning immediacy.

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