Greeting cards are so boring

Billington Pix

I just want to put it out there - it is not easy to find decent photo greeting cards.

Yes, you can find jokey cards that celebrate that middle class love of drinking too much wine, or lavender-filled landscapes of purple haze with cheesy couples holding hands in soft focus. Yes, you can buy cards with slightly irreverent or quasi-insulting phrases on the front, that might put a smile on some people's face. And the latest trend is for personalised cards, which seems to have taken over everything in the search engine results. Great, but is that the only choice? They are all so boring and meaningless to me!

I'm just looking for some great photo art that I know will mean something to whoever I send it. Or you know what? I might just buy it to frame and keep on my sideboard.

Exercise your brain with cerebral greeting cards!

I have made it my mission to provide cerebral photo greeting cards that have a deeper meaning than these soppy romantic chocolate box delights. People deserve better.

If you one of the million plus people in the UK who have been forced to shield from Covid-19 this might mean something to you. I am one too. It's not been fun, with the most exciting part of the week being the delivery of my food parcel, followed by the ritual of wiping everything down to reduce contamination risk. This is something that will be written about for years to come, how people coped with self-isolation.

Social human beings and Covid-19 isolation

We are a social creature, or so they say. We don't want isolation, we want to communicate. We also want to support other people where possible, whether by practical help, or just by sending a few kind words. I spend a lot of my day looking out of the window, or peering from my balcony, observing my neighbours daily routines and watching the rest of the world go by. These are probably dull moments, but I like to share them with friends and family nonetheless.

urban scaffold support against old building facadeCommunication has been vital to everyone during these tough times. It's always been an important part of our civilisation, from the earliest cave drawings, or song lines. In the 19th century it started to become the norm to send birthday cards, Cdecchristmas cards and other greeting cards to one-another. This began a commercial trend that lasted all the way up to the digital media age. Then, at that point, we started to question whether sending cards was not just an inefficient and costly means of communicating when we could quite easily send e-cards or via social media. The problem with these new methods of communication, however, is that they are lacking the the emotional spark department.

Social media is great for making contact with other people, whether that be people we know or don't know. Sometimes though we crave something a bit more tangible with the people we do know. A phone call can help, where you hear the actual person speak, breathe, laugh, pause for thought. Video conferencing has been a life-saver, when it works. For those old enough to remember life before the internet, just putting pen to paper was the best means of expressing oneself. I am doing that right now actually, only typing my words onto a computer screen. So I can share my thoughts with you, although you won't have any idea how bad my handwriting is!

The art of writing

For me the next best thing to having a conversation with somebody in the same room is to write them a letter. In fact it is sometimes almost better than speaking to the person in that same room, as I can be more considered and research what I want to say, so that it is clearer and more to the point. And then to choose a greeting card that means something, rather than using an inane mass-produced bland photo card found cheaply on the internet.

I still send tons of emails, and make loads of video conferences, although they always seem to me to be a bit jarred with a small delay usually confusing the conversation. And they are never in High Definition (or mine aren't at least). So to be able to send a handwritten note sometimes is still a wonderful thing. It can be exercised by young and old alike. The experience of sitting down to write that note, is great for mental health. And the experience of receiving the card can mean so much. And the best thing? If it's a great card with an awesome image on the front, it can be kept forever, framed perhaps, as a small piece of art to keep on enjoying. How great is that?

The choice on offer

I get so excited in card shops because the choice is all there in front of me, and I can be there for ages, seeking out exactly the right card. I stopped sending branded birthday cards a long time ago. You know the ones, with the age impressed onto the front, usually in gold lettering. Do people even buy those anymore? Instead I try to go for photo cards that have more meaning and a bit of attitude (if I can find any), that I know the other person will appreciate. Art gallery gift shops are a good place to go, although their images tend to be more objective when really I want them to send out a message and a point of view. Even my Christmas cards choices are usually nothing to do with the commercial side of the festival. Or sometimes I just want to find a card to re-connect and say hello. Those are the most personal choices for me.

These days I tend to go for more abstract images, steering well away from landscapes, vases of flowers or balloons. And I *love* urbex. There is always beauty to be found in decay. If you don't know what it is, it is the exploration of human structures, usually abandoned buildings that seek out and celebrate the decay. Check out the hashtag on Instagram. Again, these are images, not cards, so for the rest of the population there is generally not an option to buy greeting cards like this.

What is your favourite image to have on a card? Let me know in the comments below.

photo greeting cards

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