Image Correspondence #16

It’s that time of year again: the season for greeting cards, holiday packages and postage. This week’s image correspondence takes us back to episode #47, “U.S. Postal Service Stamps”, by producer Julie Shapiro (who is no stranger to the art of correspondence and the artfully selected stamp).

Re-listening to episode #47 made me remember this image that I made last summer when my neighbors repurposed a cooler to serve as their mailbox while their front entrance was under construction.

001_Kate_Joyce_Mail_Box_2013_MG_0093Photo credit: Kate Joyce Temporary mailbox, Chicago, Illinois, 2013

The U.S. Post Office has an extremely detailed set of regulations for mailboxes, and I’m not sure this one officially qualifies. But my guess is that as long as the mail was stamped, it made it in here. Stamps are like passports or airplane tickets, if our mail has a stamp, it will probably get where it needs to go even if that place is a cooler bungeed to fence. Stamps are also stories, in more ways than one. Below is a collection of three of my favorite expressive envelopes received over the years. The black envelope is from a friend who has known me for a long time and it’s full of stamps carrying personal undertones, for example – my partner is a jazz musician, W.C. Handy is a jazz and blues legend, many of George Gershwin’s compositions are jazz standards, we live in Illinois, I’m a photographer, I photograph architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright practiced and came into prominence in Illinois – and so on.


The Stamps (from top clockwise):

1969 6¢ W.C. Handy Father of the Blues
1966 2¢ Frank Lloyd Wright
1968 6¢ Illinois Statehood1818-1968
1984 20¢ Stacks of Love
1960 4¢ Camp Fire Girls
1978 15¢ Photography
1973 8¢ George Gershwin
2011 Forever Owney
2001 20¢ George Washington 1785 bust


Kate Joyce is a Chicago based artist, architectural photographer, and the first image correspondent for 99% Invisible. Every two weeks, Joyce will release new and original work for specific episodes. She’ll also comb through her archive to find previously made photographs that are already in thematic conversation with current and past episodes. “I’m curious to see how audio will shape image and image will shape audio and what that will mean to telling stories about design over time,” Joyce says.

Now You See It  is a photography project of 99% Invisible. We’d like to create a public dialogue by offering our listeners a new way to interact with our show, as well as their own immediate environment. The project includes the Image Correspondent Residency with Kate Joyce, and ongoing photo assignments for listeners.

We want to see what you hear! Submit your images to our Flickr Group, or email them to [email protected] or put them on Instagram with the hashtag #99PI. We’ll be curating and presenting our favorites on our Instagram and Tumblr.

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