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Postbark – keepsake from a stranger…

May 6, 2014.Oliver.0 Likes.8 Comments

When was the last time you found a postcard in your mailbox? So far so good. But when was the last time you received a postcard from a stranger?? Chances are it may happen soon…

“So, I’m doing this thing, kind of a New Years resolution, where I send out a postcard-a-day to someone different, for a whole year…”

That’s how Chris Barker puts the idea for his project into a single sentence. Every day since the 1st of January he combs through his collection of vintage postcards, writes a quote on the back of them and drops it into the mail.

“Simple as that.”

Day 110- “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” (Tony Robbins) #postbark (at Kelly’s Superette)

Day 110- “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” (Tony Robbins) #postbark (at Kelly’s Superette)

Before posting his “paper patchwork of inspiration” to destinations worldwide he probably can be found roaming the streets of Denver in search of a unique backdrop for a snapshot. A pattern from the past placed “over” an everyday situation – ranging from plates to parks. His “photographic postcard forays” can be followed via his Tumblr and Instagram. When I first heard about this “postmarked inspiration” it reminded me a bit of the postcard episode from “Sophie’s World” where some fundamental questions are found in the letter box as food of thought. Chris’ postcards too may stir an inner dialogue in the unintended audience, most likely with a dash of happiness and a smile…

Day 107- “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” (John F. Kennedy) #postbark (at Cheesman Park)

Day 107- “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” (John F. Kennedy) #postbark (at Cheesman Park)

Day 104- “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” (Joseph Campbell) #postbark (at Kelly’s Superette)

Day 104- “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” (Joseph Campbell) #postbark (at Kelly’s Superette)

I’m a huge fan of postcards myself and during the years abroad they became sort of the “wallpaper for my mind”, carrying some fond memories and already bringing life to a place the moment I arrived. I also like how these vintage postcards amplify the idea of fading memories and how the imaginary time travel may turn a piece of paper into a little “keepsake from a stranger”…

“… it’s all worth it when I get to respond to emails or get something ridiculous in the mail from someone I’ve sent a postcard to.”

Day 106- “To change ones life- Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly.” (William James) #postbark

Day 106- “To change ones life- Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly.” (William James) #postbark

There’s exactly two things Chris requires in order to keep the project going: dedication and addresses. From the email communication with him I can tell that he has plenty of the former, so he probably wouldn’t mind a decent stack of the latter either. Make sure you take a look at the #postbark project and the fabulous collection of postcards and quotes, spread the word or simply let Chris “do the job”. Do you know someone who would fancy some “postmarked inspiration” or having a selfish moment? Drop him a line

“So, let me know if you or someone you know would appreciate some joyfulness in their mailbox before making their daily contribution to the recycling gods.”

Day 113- “Always go with your passions. Never ask yourself if it’s realistic or not.” (Deepak Chopra) #postbark (at Kelly’s Superette)

Day 113- “Always go with your passions. Never ask yourself if it’s realistic or not.” (Deepak Chopra) #postbark (at Kelly’s Superette)

Comments (8)

  • Allysse . May 7, 2014 . Reply

    I really like this project and how he not only make someone smile (most likely) as they open their mail box but also share the card with the rest of the world, spreading that smile to many more people.

    I also enjoy the way he record the card, making a record of his journey through Denver and creating an additional layer of context to the cards.

    • (Author) Oliver . May 7, 2014 . Reply

      Thanks Allysse, I like your idea of “creating an additional layer of context” by documenting his photographic forays in the city! When I first came across the project on Adventure Journal I was hooked instantly! Profound simplicity and simple profoundness at the same time…
      I quite struggled to pick a few examples for the post since most of the compositions and quotes are simply brilliant! I hope you already got in touch with him!?? 🙂

  • laura bruno lilly . May 10, 2014 . Reply

    Long live snail mail’s ode to art: the postcard. 🙂
    I’ve collected and sent mounds of these little snippets of ‘life beyond where one lives’ for years. And I still seek them out to send. Unfortunately due to e-mail, texting, I-phone photos, etc they are not so easy to find; esp in non-touristy places.
    Will look into Chris’ project.
    peace

    • (Author) Oliver . May 10, 2014 . Reply

      Thanks for your lovely comment Laura, I really love the “snail mail’s ode to art” and “snippets of ‘life beyond where one lives’” expressions!! 🙂
      I agree that life and communication quite shifted into a virtual direction. However, I’m convinced that all things analogue won’t vanish and it’s always good to see that there are people out there who “celebrate” these things and turn them into something intriguing…
      You may consider getting in touch with Chris in case you like his project and know someone whose mailbox haven’t seen a “snail mail’s ode to art” in a while… 😉

  • Britt Skrabanek . May 25, 2014 . Reply

    I love this so much! Such a neat and inspiring project.

    I miss receiving postcards from people. I have a stack that I collected over the years and I like to take them out from time to time and smile big.

    • (Author) Oliver . May 25, 2014 . Reply

      Oh yes Britt, it’s a marvellous project indeed. We certainly need to preserve (or revive!?) the celebration of “postmarked inspiration”! I can relate perfectly to your joy during these “wee journeys of the mind” while taking a look at this “stack of words and memories”… 🙂
      How about sending a lovely and surprising thought to someone special out there and see “what comes back”? You may even consider getting in touch with Chris actually… 😉

  • Hai - Notes of Nomads . June 19, 2014 . Reply

    It reminds me that, even the simplists actions like sending a postcard can bring so much happiness.Thank you for sharing this inspirational project.

    • (Author) Oliver . June 19, 2014 . Reply

      Hey Hai, thanks for popping by! 🙂 I totally agree with you, such a simple yet subtle idea indeed. I was hooked instantly when I first came across the project and keep following along since…
      Keep spreading happiness yourself and safe travels!

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