How One Postcard Company Revolutionized Color Photography

Every week, I pick a fascinating book or a magazine from my design library — a collection I’ve gathered through my travels. This time, I’m flipping through “An American Odyssey: Photos from the Detroit Photographic Company”, a large volume featuring photos from the company’s vast archives.

The Detroit Publishing Company was a prominent American publisher of postcards and photographic views. Founded in the late 19th century, specifically in 1895 by Detroit businessman William A. Livingstone Jr., the company became renowned for its extensive collection of photographs capturing various aspects of American life, landmarks, and landscapes.

The company specialized in producing photographic postcards, which were extremely popular during the early 20th century as a means of communication and souvenir collecting. Detroit Publishing Company was known for the high quality and artistic merit of its photographs. They employed skilled photographers and used advanced printing techniques to produce vivid, detailed images. Over the years, the Detroit Publishing Company amassed a vast collection of photographs covering a wide range of subjects. Their images documented cities, scenic views, historical events, and cultural landmarks across the United States and even internationally.


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An American Odyssey | Published by Taschen in 2014 | 612 pages | Available on Etsy ($185)

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