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Memory Archive: Postcards from Lake George

This series of postcards are based on my thoughts on an annual family vacation to the tourist town, Lake George, NY. I wanted to capture the kitsch, tacky, commercial nature of tourist towns contrasted to the authentic experience of being connected to my family and my heritage.

In the first card, the town is a jumble of people and signs, there’s nothing unique other than perhaps the mountains in the background, but the view is partially blocked by phone lines and signposts. Even the beautiful beach is crowded with people. The text sarcastically reads, “Greetings from Lake George.” I liked the idea of inviting someone to a place that is clearly an undesirable location. The board of tourism continues to advertise and draw more and more people to Lake George each year, making it less and less of a relaxing or fun place to go as the crowds get larger and larger. Yet the town relies so heavily on this annual tourism for revenue that it must keep funding its efforts to get people to come back every year to vacation there.

The second card is more indicative of a tourist manual; here beautiful pictures of the Lake are almost entirely obscured by the bright logo and list of tourist activities the town provides. It’s clear that there’s something interesting to see behind the logo, but all that one is able to see clear enough is the text. Likewise, the beauty of Lake George is lost behind the excess of tourist shops. Also, my experience in this town feels crowded or made inauthentic by the phony zeal of tourism ads.

The third card feels more like a resolution. It focuses on my personal experiences at the lake, activities that I enjoy with my family and places that we frequent. Like the first card, it is crowded but here it is crowded (for me) with good memories and familiar faces. The text is not ironic like the first one nor loud as the it is in the second card. It is merely  a statement relegated to the background of the more important picture.

 

I would have done a few things differently with this piece if I could have. For example, the second card is not very strong and should have been elaborated on. Also, this contrast between authentic and inauthentic experiences is evident separately in the first and third card, but I think my idea would have come across better if it was expressed in one card, or expressed together in multiple cards. But because of this separation what should have been a series feels more disjointed.

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