John Hinde was a pioneer of colour photography and one of the most successful postcard publishers in the world. His largest collection of postcards celebrated Ireland. He portrayed an island brightened by his imagination, a place where children were red-haired and freckled, the sun always shining, and the sky forever blue. His idealistic images were to become the stereotypical portrayal of Ireland for many years, and to this day elicit feelings of nostalgia from viewers worldwide.
Return to Sender pairs Hinde’s iconic, instantly recognisable postcards from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s with corresponding contemporary photographs. The side-by-side contrast of these then-and-now photographs, wonderfully captured by photographer Paul Kelly, illustrates the ways Ireland’s rural and urban landscapes have changed over the decades or, in some places, not changed at all.
Throughout Paul Kelly’s childhood his father, Patrick Kelly, sent John Hinde postcards to him in California when he was visiting the land of his youth. By the time he was nine, Paul was accompanying his father on these trips, and developed his own love of Ireland. His father died in 2015, and in 2018, Paul came back to live in Ireland with his family. Return to Sender is his tribute to John Hinde, whose jewel-bright Ireland was the stuff of his childhood dreams. It’s also a tribute to his father.