I walked around town a bit this morning, taking photos, and this was the only shot I kept. It’s not that the other shots were bad, although a few were, it’s just that this was the only one that I felt was worth keeping. What I liked about this shot was that it looks like a postcard. It has an almost generic feel to it, as if you could walk into one of the shops and buy it for a dollar. I have looked at other images and thought “postcard” –99% of the time they go straight to the trash, so why not this one?
The color is a little washed out, which gives it a retro feel. The painted sign itself is vintage. If you look closely, it is actually painted over a Coca-Cola sign. Coca-Cola is much more commercially successful than Cheerwine. However, the town where I live is the home of Cheerwine, and so there is sentimentality involved. Sentimentality is a form of nostalgia. Since Cheerwine is local, the subtle suggestion here is to buy it instead of Coke products, even though Coke products are more popular. This suggestion could be economic but it also plays off sentimentality to the community. One doesn’t just buy Cheerwine instead of Coke because it tastes better, one buys it because it is local. The deeper nostalgia here is that at one time most products were local. 95 years ago, when Cheerwine was born, buying “local” products was not very unusual. These days, most of our products come from somewhere else, a place we may recognize or one we have never heard of. The postcard feel works for me because postcards themselves are nostalgic memorabilia that suggest another time and place.
And that is why I kept this image.