A few days after World Postcard Day on October 1, 2021 Vox released a fascinating postcard story for their “Darkroom” series. Yes, in the time of emails and social media messages, the practice is still around. Whether you’re a postcard collector or not, I’m sure the photography history and mystery in this “same sky” mystery will pique your interest!

Within the massive collections of Canada-based James Brouwer are over 11,000 postcards that show photos of old age homes, 1960s advertising and ugly restaurants. He eventually noticed something odd in these carefully organized postcards: dozens of them appear to have the exact same sky. A closer look led him to the information that all these “same sky” postcards were made by one publisher: Dexter Press in West Nyack, NY.

Of course, it’s already obvious that an old-time version of sky replacement was in the works in each of these postcards. Still, it’s not surprising if some of you want to go deeper into the rabbit hole. So, the episode takes us further into the mystery — from facts about Dexter Press and the history of the “chrome-era postcards,” to the unusual visual effect that the “same sky” brings to Brouwer’s collection. If you love photography history, vintage imagery, a pinch of mystery, and of course, postcards, you’ll definitely enjoy this one!

Have you ever seen this “same sky” in a chrome-era postcard? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or in our group discussions if you’re already part of the Photofocus Community!