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Masters of Tall Tale Photography

Some postcard photographers and artists became well-known because of their style and because they signed their work. Among the better-known artists whose work is featured in this exhibit are the following:
F.D. Conard, of Garden City, Kansas, was known for his postcards of giant grasshoppers, inspired by a 1935 Kansas plague, and "Kansas varmint," the jackrabbit.
J. Herman's work appeared under his name or as "Series 85," and was mostly published by the Midland (New York) Publishing Company around 1912-1913. Herman produced only a few cards, mostly images of produce on railroad cars and fishing themes.
Alfred Stanley Johnson, active in Waupun, Wisconsin from 1909-1935, is known for his highly-realistic, action-packed, black and white scenes which contrasted wild images with understated captions for a humorous effect.
An artist known only as Leigh was recognized for his partially hand-tinted, black and white images of gigantic fruits on horse-drawn carts in Florida. All of the cards were copyrighted in 1909.
William H. Martin, active in Ottawa, Kansas, from 1908 to 1910, is the most well known of all tall tale postcard photographers. Executed in black and white, his gigantic corn, rabbits, cabbages and other subjects convey his exceptional attention to detail and perspective. Some Martin cards were so popular that they went through multiple printings and were even plagiarized.
Richard Miller began producing post cards in 1955 and published them through his company, Modern-Ad of Butler, Pennsylvania. Miller's best known creation, "Tables Turned," shows a hunter strapped to a car, having been captured by a deer.

Edward H. Mitchell's scenes, produced mostly circa 1909-1910, primarily involve train cars bearing huge, colorful produce. Unlike many postcard creators who used four-color palettes, Mitchell worked with up to six colors. He made his work available to larger audiences by producing postcards with blanks which sellers could fill in with their locations.

Mike Roberts, a more recent photographer in the tall tale tradition, is one of few individuals to revitalize the genre since its original days of popularity. His work portrays Western scenes, hunting and fishing.