I think that a very important point in all of this is that the world changes. We do not see things as people a hundred years ago do. We have spoken of the bridge that photography offers across time. But in a sense this bridge is impassable. A single image does not convey complete understanding of how people once saw the world. It is only through observing a massive collection of such images that one can really achieve understanding, or begin to. Mr. Dedieu amassed his very impressive collection of postcard images over the course of a lifetime. And in doing so he has performed a truly important task – the task of letting us see how they saw.
There is another point in all of this for those of you who wished that you could collect photographs but are turned off by the high prices. I am a great proponent of focused collecting – although I hasten to add that I do not collect photographs myself. You might at first consider postcards to be a low level endeavor – a poor cousin of fine art collecting. But as Jean-Phillipe Dedieu so wonderfully demonstrates, there can be great historic value in such a collection.