I have long been smitten with mail, probably partly due to having spent big chunks of my pre-accessible internet childhood summers in France with my family. My father was a professor so he and my sister got to spend whole academic summers there, with my mother joining later, and sending us postcards until she did. Letters were also my primary means of keeping up with my friends - it is to this that I also attribute my deep draw to delayed gratification, part of why I prefer to shoot film.
In 2020, quarantined on my own in my parents' apartment in Manhattan, postal workers were unsurprisingly the first essential workers I focused on, and my long-standing practice of sending daily postcards expanded to active advocacy for the United States Postal Service. I went to rallies, made phone calls, but also made various baked goods, went on walks, and began photographing and gifting goodies to any postal worker who'd accept either offering of love. The goods weren't limited to postal workers, I was also ducking into subway stations and onto buses, delivered cookies any time I went to pick up an order at my local bookstore, and made regular visits to the hospital I was living by. But USPS is what fully captured my imagination, partly because it is being strategically sabotaged from the inside by Louis DeJoy, the current ass clown of a postmaster general who's tied to Donald Trump. Like most infrastructure, the postal service is invisibly taken for granted when running smoothly, which is a pity, because there now seems to be a critical mass of people ready to give up on the largest unionized force of Black people in the country, with a deeply revolutionary history. So, partly to make sure the people literally delivering my love language can be seen, I've continued my habit of photographing any letter carrier I cross paths with - who is not on the phone when I encounter them, and, naturally, who says yes both to being photographed and to having it shared - to this day. As the country's decided to pretend the epidemic's over, I've had less time to take walks during business hours, which has slowed my clip, but I intend to do this forever. Any postal worker who's amenable receives a print of their portrait as a postcard.
I am plotting next steps to find external support to turn this into a funded, published project, partly to draw attention to the fact that if the tides do not soon turn, the postal service may well go extinct, which will have catastrophic, fascistic consequences.