The magic of vintage moonshine cards
It was about 100 years ago when a special kind of postcard was fashionable in Europe: the moonshine card. This is a kind of postcard with motifs of cities or landscapes that was to convey the effect of a nightly moonshine scenery. It was supposed to be romantic and this obviously appealed to people in those days. There were printed cards as well as photo-postcards that were »dipped into moonlight« in this way.
If you look at the moonshine cards nowadays, they appear wonderfully nostalgic, however, anything but realistic. Evidently, it was not possible to resolve this technically and apparently it also didn’t bother anyone. They tried to create a nightly mood with a bluish color, mostly with an additional blue overprint, or with a full moon that was simply made with a gap of a small circle in either the photographic exposure or in print. All of this was still so remote of any digital image processing via Photoshop.
One has to add that indeed, the depiction of nightly sceneries were one of the more challenging tasks in photography as well as in film. For example, it took until the 40’s for movies, to contain genuine looking night shootings.
With the beginning of World War I in 1914, the moonshine cards became slowly extinct. There were a few field postcards with a full moon, but then romanticism came to a halt. The war reigned over Europe …
Of course, postcards with a full moon reappeared over and over, but never have these cards reached the popularity of the years between 1898 and 1906.
Still, the fascination with nightly images remains and likewise the longing for a romantic encounter. In this respect, moonshine cards are timeless, although they can look different today: