She dressed in the style of a Victorian lady and set out into the sun-bleached thoroughfares of Zanzibar. What she loved most about these photo shoots is that, in the photos, she could be whomever she wanted. At the time, she had no idea that her photograph would be printed on a postcard and distributed across the world…
In those days, an excited energy permeated the atmosphere. The First World War had come to an end and, after so much death; a fervent desire to seize life took hold. It was a time of monumental changes. The roaring twenties ignited in America and swept across the Atlantic, breaking down pre-existing social structures and injecting new zeal and innovation into an old world.
As a young Swahili woman, she found in photography an outlet for her desire to rebel against the traditional expectations of her family. In one photo she could be an American movie star: in the next, a member of some faraway aristocracy. Looking into the lens she found a freedom and self-expression that she could seldom find in the hard stone of age-old tradition. She was able, in her mind, to transport herself into whatever life she wanted.
Fitting then that a photo of her should be used to transport the minds of others, as often a postcard can do. The studio she visited in Zanzibar’s Old Town was owned by a nice young man who was so struck by her image that he asked if he could pay her in exchange for using the photo on a postcard intended to impress traveling Westerners. Ecstatic, she agreed.
And so the photo of her wearing those Victorian clothes was sent across the world, stark and beautiful, a visual reminder of that special moment when cultures collide and meet one another with open arms. Many a wanderer on a foreign shore spotted her face upon a card and was moved to mail it across the sea as a memento from a continent unknown.
Throughout the years postcards have held this power. They act as a line of connection, both between people and between places. Print Shoppe is dedicated to cultivating such connections and so will take extra care to achieve excellence when producing postcards.