“… A cross between professionalism and sentimentality.”
With piercing green eyes, a thick crop of curly brown hair, and the physique and aggresiveness of a prizefighter, Aubrey Jenkins makes a great salesman. He is in the post card business, taking most of the photographs used in his cards. He distributes his wares to approximately two hundred different retail outlets in Louisiana.
Jenkins purchased Post Card Specialties, Inc. from his uncle in the spring of 1965. It is a franchise of Chicago-based Curt Teich, one of the world's largest post card printers. Only two other companies sell post cards in Louisiana. Besides the cards, Jenkins also distributes charms, guide books, and other souvenir items.
Jenkins, who is in his late thirties, took up photography as a hobby while serving four years in the Air Force. At the time, he had no thought of making a living from photography. He also got involved in medical technology in the service, another field he had never expected to enter when he was a schoolboy in Springfield, Louisiana.
Like many children, Jenkins did not apply himself to his studies. One of his teachers told him, “Aubrey, you are never going to amount to anything.” Several years later, Jenkins happened to meet the same teacher in New Orleans in a doctor's office. She asked, “What are you doing these days?”
“I'm an electron microscopist at Tulane Medical Center.”
The woman was astounded. Her student had not turned out so badly after all.
In his job at Tulane Medical Center, Jenkins became more proficient at photography since his work necessitated photographing slide specimens and using sophisticated camera equipment. Eventually, however, he realized that he was attracted to the artistic aspects of photography, so when his uncle decided to sell Post Card Specialties, Jenkins bought it, and began to create his own picture post cards.Describing his cards, Jenkins states, “I am not a strictly professional photographer. I might have more of a tourist slant to my pictures than, say, a photographer from Chicago or Boston or wherever who runs around just shooting all of the ‘hot spots.’ You might say that my work is a cross between professionalism and sentimentality.”
Certain post card views or scenes will sell better than others.
“If someone buys five post cards, probably two of them will have the words ‘New Orleans’ printed on them, and the other three will be picked for their artistic composition.”
The aspect of his work that Jenkins enjoys most is photographing the ante-bellum homes and visiting with the people therein. The chore he likes least is going around from store to store filling the racks — “but that's what pays the bills.”
Walking and driving many miles a day, servicing the racks, keeps the post card man busy, but he gets satisfaction from his job. He sincerely appreciates the beauty and charm of this state and likes to think about people mailing his pictures of Louisiana all over the world.
Copyright © 1975–2006 Henry H. Mitchell.